Integrated pollution control - R v European Vinyls Corporation (7 May 1998) Magistrates' Court

United Kingdom
The European Vinyls Corporation operate three PVC production streams at their Sully works in Barry. A reaction to polymerise vinyl chloride monomer to PVC overheated as a pump in the mixing vessel failed, leading to the escape of up to 8.5 tonnes of vinyl chloride monomer, a carcinogenic gas. European Vinyls Corporation have various options to cool down the reaction, but failed to use the option stated in their integrated pollution control application. Rather than stopping the reaction it escalated causing the escape. European Vinyls Corporation were found guilty of three offences under Section 6(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990: (i) failure to maintain plant and equipment; (ii) failure to provide operators with appropriate written instructions; (iii) failure to carry out the process in accordance with the IPC authorisation. European Vinyls Corporation were fined £6,000 for each offence and ordered to pay costs. The Environment Agency also issued a variation notice on European Vinyls Corporation, which no longer permitted the use of the failed method of cool down. (ENDS Report 280, p52)