Press Release 11/12/2008 B004:08
The Buncefield Investigation Board publishes its Final Report and announces the end of its work
Today, the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board is publishing its final report and announcing the conclusion of its work.
This announcement is on the third anniversary of the incident, which occurred at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead on 11 December 2005, dramatically affecting surrounding local residents and businesses.
Lord Newton of Braintree, the Chair of the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board, said: "This final report captures all of our important work over nearly three years in a single publication for the public record. It provides an authoritative summary of the incident and of the Board’s role and work, and brings together for the first time our 78 recommendations into one place. This includes some new elements, for example information on economic impact and the mechanism that produced such a severe explosion at Buncefield. We trust it will prove an invaluable reference document about this major and very serious event."
In the three years of the Board’s existence during this complex project they have:
- Met as a full Board on over 30 occasions, and on many other occasions in working groups to concentrate on different parts of their terms of reference.
- Produced eight reports and responded to three Government consultation exercises of relevance to Buncefield; and
- Provided advice to the HSE, Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on important preventive measures arising out of the investigation and completed a review of the policies and procedures for regulating the Buncefield site.
Lord Newton concluded: "I have agreed with Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE Board, the body that appointed us, and with the Chair of the Environment Agency Lord Smith, that on publication of our final report, we will have completed all of our terms of reference. Therefore, as of today the Board will cease active business.
"A decision was announced on 1 December by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency to commence criminal proceedings against a number of companies. I was not appointed to make a decision on proceedings or to exert influence on it. Nonetheless this action by the enforcing authorities is an important milestone for many people and it adds to the case for the Board to conclude its work."
Notes to Editors
1. Lord Tony Newton (Chairman) and the Buncefield Independent Investigation Board will be attending the Phoenix Gateway opening event, to mark the third anniversary of the incident and announce the close of their work to local residents and the business community. The Board will also be publishing their final report, which is available in hard copy or on the Buncefield Investigation website www.buncefieldinvestigation.gov.uk
2. The investigation was directed by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) using its powers under section 14(2)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
3. The investigation was carried out jointly by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency. The HSC appointed an independent Investigation Board, chaired by Lord Newton of Braintree, to supervise this investigation. This report has been prepared by the Investigation Board, based on information arising from the continuing HSE/Environment Agency investigation. Throughout the investigation, the Board has been supplied with Progress Reports from the Investigation Manager, Taf Powell, which the Board has published.
4. The investigation had eight terms of reference. The eighth TOR requires the final report, which is being published today, to be made public.
5.This report is a summary of the material contained in the previous reports. It also includes previously unpublished material on economic impact and the violence of the Buncefield explosion.
For more information or an interview with Lord Newton of Braintree the Board Chairman or Taf Powell the Investigation Manager, please contact: Suzanne Halls on Mob. 07971 186710.
Issued on behalf of the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board by COI News and PR.