West Lancashire MP, Rosie Cooper, joined her Parliamentary colleagues in a debate on the safety of the Sonae factory following a fire at the factory. This is the fourth fire at the factory in the past 12 months raising concerns for the health and safety of the workforce and local residents.
During the debate Rosie questioned the safety record of the factory and made a plea for the relevant authorities especially the Health and Safety Executive and Sonae to ensure that the plant is not allowed to reopen unless employees and residents safety can be assured. Residents in Simonswood on the West Lancashire – Kirkby border have campaigned against the factory since it opened in 2000.
“I have spoken with many constituents who are concerned about their safety and the environmental impact of this factory on their local community. This latest fire is another incident in a catalogue of health and safety failures at the Sonae factory over the past seven years."
“I received assurances from the Minister that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is thoroughly investigating the most recent fire incident. The Health and Safety Executive had not been made aware of some of all of the incidents which have taken place previously.”
“I will be in contact with the HSE and will be monitoring the situation as the investigation progresses. My overriding concern is for Simonswood residents affected by the Sonae factory and that either at best the site is prevented from reopening or at worst ensuring that the site is made safe to prevent any similar incidents from happening again.”
Since April 2004 the fire and rescue service has been called out to the factory on 33 separate occasions.