Skip navigation

Buncefield Investigation Homepage


Welcome to the official Buncefield Major Investigation website.

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has appointed me as independent Chair of the Board to oversee the investigation into the Buncefield Oil Depot explosions and fire of December 2005.

The HSC decision to establish this independent investigation was a significant move, highlighting the severity of the incident and the degree of concern for people living and working close to the Buncefield site, and the importance of the work to the wider industry.

I hope you find the website useful.


Rt. Hon Lord Newton of Braintree

The Incident

In the early hours of Sunday 11th December 2005, a number of explosions occurred at Buncefield Oil Storage Depot, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. At least one of the initial explosions was of massive proportions and there was a large fire, which engulfed a high proportion of the site. Over 40 people were injured; fortunately there were no fatalities. Significant damage occurred to both commercial and residential properties in the vicinity and a large area around the site was evacuated on emergency service advice. The fire burned for several days, destroying most of the site and emitting large clouds of black smoke into the atmosphere.

The Response

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are leading a joint investigation with the Environment Agency (EA). The joint team is conducting its on-site investigation in a way, which will be detailed, thorough and wide-ranging.

The Website

The goal of this website is to provide a convenient and easily accessible way in which all those involved and interested in this investigation can access the information. It is our intention that the investigation will be carried out in a transparent way and will liaise closely with all the stakeholders, both on and off-site. We understand that the incident affected a multitude of interests off-site and that we must keep these people, local residents and others who have key decisions to make as a result of this incident, informed of the investigation’s progress. Please feel free to email us with your comments and suggestion via the Helpdesk (see Contact us section) and we will endeavour to assist you as best we can.

The Prosecution

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA) have secured convictions against five companies. They will be sentenced on Friday 16 July at St Albans Crown Court.