To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the risks to the health and safety of the local community on the lower Ravenhill Road, Belfast arising from the continued operation of the Tennants Textiles Colours plant; what restrictions have been placed on future developments in the area; and if he will make a statement.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has conducted rigorous health and safety inspections of the Tennants Textiles Colours factory site to ensure compliance with the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000 (COMAH). These Regulations implement the European Community Directive 96/82/EC and require stringent controls on companies such as Tennants Textile Colours who store, use or handle specified dangerous substances above defined quantity thresholds.
The company has been fully co-operative in complying with the necessary safety requirements and as such, any risk to the health and safety of the local community on lower Ravenhill Road is considered to be minimal.
All future development proposals in the immediate vicinity of the site are subject to land-use assessment in accordance with UK wide land-use planning guidelines for COMAH sites. HSENI has determined planning consultation zones for the land surrounding the site and advises the Planning Service on proposed developments within these zones. HSENI advice is based on a consideration of the type of development, the status and number of occupants and its proposed location relative to the Tennants Textiles Colour site. In general, HSENI will advise the Planning Service against proposals for new developments that would introduce large or vulnerable populations to the immediate vicinity of the site. This approach, and the methodologies used are consistent across the United Kingdom.