West Sussex company fined for 'ignoring' explosion risk warnings

A West Sussex company must pay a fine of £2,000 after failing to make a 'potentially explosive' underground petrol tank safe.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 2:32 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 2:34 pm
Afterpleading guilty to the charges, the businesswasfined 1,650 and orderedto pay 332 in costs at a hearing at Worthing Magistrates' court

According to West Sussex County Council, CJ Hurst (Lickfold) Ltd of The Street, Bury, 'refused' to make the petrol tank safe beneath its business yard near Lickfold.

It added that the company ignored 'numerous interventions' from Trading Standards.

After pleading guilty to the charges, the business was fined £1,650 and ordered to pay £332 in costs at a hearing at Worthing Magistrates' court.

A county council spokesperson said: "A company has been ordered to pay almost £2,000 after ignoring warnings from West Sussex Trading Standards to make a potentially explosive underground petrol tank safe.

"The units within the yard are rented out to other local businesses and it is understood that the underground tank had been disused for nearly 30 years.

"All petrol tanks, even those emptied of fuel, pose a risk of explosion unless they are properly decommissioned. Old disused petrol tanks can pose a particular danger if those working around them are not aware of the risk."

Having failed to deal with the matter 'on an advisory basis', petroleum officers from West Sussex Trading Standards served a notice to the company under Public Health legislation 'requiring the tank to be made safe'.

"The company failed to comply with the notice so officers took further action," the spokesperson added. "Nobody from the company attended the court hearing but the legal representative for CJ Hurst (Lickfold) Ltd told the court the company had now made the petrol tank safe by filling it with heating oil."

Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards team manager, said disused petrol tanks 'have the potential to be incredibly dangerous' unless dealt with correctly.

He continued: "Officers had sought to work with the company and made several warnings which were repeatedly ignored.”

To report an issue to Trading Standards visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport or contact Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.