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Safety concerns scupper plan to increase aviation fuel storage in Portishead

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: November 12, 2012

The fuel storage depot at Redcliff Bay, in Portishead. Councillors raised concerns over the likelihood of accidents so close to homes and schools

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A plan for an additional 21,000 litres of aeroplane fuel to be stored at a former MoD site in Portishead have been refused.

North Somerset councillors rejected advice by planning officers to approve the scheme, after they failed to be convinced about its safety.

The plan by the Oil and Pipelines Agency was to bring three tanks back in to use at the site, which overlooks Redcliff Bay and was built in the 1950s to store fuel for piping to military bases.

The store is now used for commercial airports, which the agency says are clamouring for more fuel. Of the 11 tanks on site, five are used to store kerosene, with two holding waste and one water.

Tankers bring the fuel to Royal Portbury Dock and it is then pumped up to the tanks. The pipeline runs under Portbury, through parts of Portishead – including through the grounds of Gordano School – and up to Redcliffe Bay.

The town council joined residents in opposing the plan, as the site and the pipeline are near residential areas including three schools. They also said the application was lacking in detail and there had been little consultation.

A report by the Health and Safety Executive said the risks from increasing the number of tanks at the site were so small that there was no significant reason for refusing the application on safety grounds.

OPA officials, who did not want to comment on the decision, said previously that the additional tanks did not increase the risk to the environment and local residents.

The decision will be rubber stamped on December 5. An appeal by the OPA could lead to a costly public inquiry.

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