Albright’s toxic archives #28 A cloud over Oldbury #1

1990 appears to have been an annus horribilis for the management of Albright and Wilson- the dirty Oldbury chemical factory based polluter. Not only did they have problems at Portishead with a major fire involving white phosphorus, but closer to home their wrath engulfed Oldbury pouring scrutiny on the integrity of the useless works manager “Dr” Peter Bloore.

The 13th February Sandwell Evening Mail reported on the scene, as an orange cloud engulfed the town.

It is difficult to see how Nitric and Sulphuric acid could be “mixed”- I mean aren’t these people supposed to be “scientists”?  😆 

Seven years later, the  newly created Environment Agency inspected the factory, though this incident appears to have escaped their predecessors attention at the Walsall council run Hazardous Waste Unit; how remiss when one considers that the safety systems supposedly in place failed miserably, and there was an uncontrolled off site release of gas.

Rarely for the A&W rimmers at WMFS, one brave sole actually states the danger and doesn’t try to patronise the local residents, but reverts to type on praising the A&W own fire service.  🙄

“It could have been a lot worse- this sort of acid can do serious damage to your lungs if you breathe it in.”

Obviously someone did nothing right when they mixed two very dangerous acids together! The policeman quoted however is another prime example of how this protected company could get away with scrutiny. It wasn’t “a minor incident” if this company had failed to contain the cloud within their own factory, and another chemical company had had to be evacuated! Such claims as “it was believed the gas cloud diluted very quickly” is textbook of the liar Bloore, and unfortunately his lies never appeared to be challenged by anyone in authority, or even a weak press asking hard questions as to why these incidents at this plant kept occurring time and time again in very quick succession under the “management” of the same man?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apology where Bloore actually stated “I’m sorry to the community , we got it wrong” or “It was all our fault” .

Always and forever the list of pathetic excuses amount to read as though it was circumstances beyond the control of management, or the attempt to play down the risk. Perhaps this is what linking the reporting of environmental incidents in a company to paid bonuses for managers for lack of incidents does, (as the 1997 EA report stated had been happening at A&W) .  


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