Cemex hits back over ’misleading’ claims

Cemex hits back over ’misleading’ claims
Published: 06 September 2006

Rugby’s cement plant has been named in a pollution black list by an environmental magazine.

The controversial factory is included among a list of sites said to have a poor compliance record on controlling pollution.

The Environment Agency has described the factory as "well managed".

The revelations, published in the environmental journal Ends Report, are likely to fuel opposition to the Long Lawford Road plant from people living in its shadow.

James Richens, the article’s author, says: "The results are important because they emphasise that apparently well run sites, with all the necessary procedures in place, can still cause pollution incidents."

He adds: "It raises questions about how much inspectors should rely on procedures that are in place at companies to determine how much effort they should put into inspecting them."

The journal is for environmental policy and business in the UK.

Campaigner Lilian Pallikou-ropoulos, of Rugby In Plume, said: "The Environment Agency said there would be no health impact. But if it is not well managed, there may be a massive health impact. This is why we are so angry, otherwise we would not have spent so much effort fighting this in the first place."

Marit Meyer-Bell, a spokeswoman for Cemex, which runs the Rugby cement plant, disputed the magazine’s claims, branding the article "misleading".

She said: "Firstly, it does not provide any detail of the compliance issues or the severity of these.

"Secondly, we would like to stress that Cemex reports many issues as a precaution, without any compliance actually being breached.

"Since taking over RMC in March 2005, Cemex has seen Rugby plant achieving exceptional levels of performance. With the kiln reaching a level of efficiency of more than 90 per cent, compared to 70 per cent in 2004, this qualifies in the industry as ’world class’."

She said the company had invested EUR6.5m in a hi-tech filter at the plant to filter out potentially dangerous gases involved in making concrete.

Cemex last week pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to breaching the regulations set down in the company’s operating regulations in relation to a fallout of dust from its factory in October last year.