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The Bosley Mill owner has been fined and given a suspended sentence for an explosion which killed four people.
George Boden, 64, from Stockport, was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months and handed a £12,000 fine at Chester Crown Court today (June 18) after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974.
He was also banned from being a company director for four years.
Others were seriously injured, and the sheer scale and impact of the explosion and the loss of lives that resulted, devastated the local community.
The mill company, Wood Treatment Limited, was given a £75,000 fine for breaching HSWA S2, in failing to protect its employees from the risk of fire.
Boden had previously admitted that the health and safety offence against the company was committed with his consent, connivance or neglect as managing director of Wood Treatment Limited (Health and Safety at Work Act, Section 37).
The sentencing was the culmination of a three month trial involving the company, director George Boden, operations manager Phillip Smith, 58, from Macclesfield, and mill manager Peter Shingler, 56, from Bosley.
In April, Justice May ordered the charges of corporate manslaughter and gross negligence be discontinued and directed the jury to find Phillip Smith and Peter Shingler, not guilty of any charges.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes, who led the police investigation, said: “The incident that day tore the heart out of the local community and resulted in a long and exhausting journey for those who lost loved ones and also those who suffered life-changing injuries.
“Following the incident our teams worked tirelessly to provide an extensive file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who authorised the charges and a trial began in January.
“The families will never forget what happened that day and while this is not the outcome that they had hoped for I hope that this will, in some way, help to bring some form of closure for them.
“We’d ask the media to respect their privacy as they come to terms with the conclusion of this case.”
Sally Nicholson, Head of Operations for the North West, HSE, said: “Wood Treatment Ltd and its Director failed to ensure the health and safety of their employees, exposing them on a daily basis to the risk of a wood dust explosion, through lack of appropriate assessment and control.
“The company and Mr Boden in his capacity as Managing Director, have rightly been held to account for these significant failings.”
- ^ prison (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Chester Crown Court (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Bosley near Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ failing to protect its employees from the risk of fire. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
A Gloucester shop’s delivery lorry was photographed parked in a busy main road unloading after the council stopped them from parking on the pavement.
Concerns were also rained for pram and wheelchair users who were forced to cross the blind and busy bend.
The shop’s general manager Michael Radoszko, 35, has been against Gloucestershire County Council’s actions to install bollards there without an accessible loading bay for his shop.
The lorry was photographed in the carriageway at 3.45pm on Thursday, June 17, by a frustrated resident who claims it was there for 15 minutes.
Cars were seen queuing on either side of the lorry on the bend, having to take turns driving around.
This comes after the council advised the shop to have their delivery vans park behind a nearby bus stop away from the narrowest part of the road.
‘Very very dangerous’
Resident Ebrahim Moosajee, who lives opposite to the shop, said: “It was very busy. I saw cars coming up both lanes. They were having to wait either side of the lorry for cars to go past on each side.
“That was worse than before when the bollards weren’t there because it was actually blocking the road, can you imagine if emergency services had been there? That was a p*** take, to be honest.
“There’s no respect from the driver and the shop knows he has parked there so there is no consideration from the shop again. They’re disrespecting council regulations where they have offered them space to park just behind the bus stop.
“It’s very very dangerous, I fear for the drivers now. People can walk around. My concerns are more for the drivers now who have to stop on the road, just to wait for this lorry to go past.”
Shopkeeper fears having to close shop
Biedronki shopkeeper Mr Radoszko said the delivery driver was unaware of the new rules. He claims the driver delivered three pallets of stock and was there for ten minutes.
Mr Radoszko said: “We are still waiting for a response from Highways [Gloucestershire County Council] to find a solution safer for everybody and we will teach our delivery lorries to park as safely as possible.
“If not, I am very worried I will be forced to close the store and over 20 people will lose their jobs.”
‘Risk to human life and limbs’
Councillor Usman Bhaimia (L, Barton and Tredworth) said: “The council should have negotiated with the shop beforehand.
“But I do not support deliveries like this, it is a risk to human life and limbs. I don’t want anyone to get hurt there. The parking there is wrong.
“When planning permission was originally given to the shop, they should have taken into consideration the parking problem. It’s a risk to passers-by, the pedestrians.”
The unit space the shop now inhabits was originally designed as a car show room.
‘We will closely monitor the area,’ vows council
Gloucestershire County Council has vowed to “closely monitor the area” after they saw the pictures. The local authority said unattended lorries on double yellow lines “can affect visibility” for pedestrians and road users.
A Gloucestershire County Council spokesperson said: “In line with the current restrictions, loading and unloading activity can take place outside of the peak hours of 8am-9am and 5pm-6pm.
“We have advised that an area next to the bus stop may be more suitable as it is away from the narrowest section of the road, whilst parking considerately to maintain access for local bus services.
“Lorries should not be left parked and unattended on the yellow lines however, as this can affect visibility for passing traffic and people crossing the road.
“Now the bollards have been installed and lorries are stopping in the carriageway, we will closely monitor the area to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists and will continue to work with the local community to see what else can be done to help.”
Traffic is building up south of Grantham following a collision between a car and a lorry which has blocked the southbound carriageway.
The incident happened between the B6403 (Woolsthorpe/Easton turn off) and the A151 (Colsterworth services) earlier this afternoon.
Traffic is queuing as far back as Little Ponton.
The AA says there are delays of 35 minutes and delays are increasing.
A man drove his BMW car “aggressively” on a rural road, overtaking a 44-tonne HGV lorry then slamming on his brakes in front of it.
Mark Morris, 35, today pleaded guilty at Llandudno Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention in the incident on the A525 in Llandegla.
Magistrates disqualified Morris from driving for six months and fined him £162.
Prosecutor Julia Galston told the court that Aled Davies had been driving his 44-tonne vehicle in the Llanrhaeadr area on August 13 last year.
She said he became aware of a blue BMW in his rear dashcam “swerving” in the road and trying to overtake him.
The prosecutor said he eventually crossed the double white lines on a bend and overtook him.
She said: “Mr Morris then slammed the brakes on” causing Mr Davies to brake.
The court heard that someone in the BMW’s front passenger seat then wound down their window and made “gestures” at the lorry driver.
Further along the road, the lorry stopped and Morris in the BMW also stopped at the Drovers Arms pub.
“The defendant ran down the road and shouted abuse (towards Mr Davies),” said the prosecutor.
The prosecution played two clips from the lorry’s front and rear dash cameras to the court showing the incident.
Ms Galston said the “potential for damage was huge”.
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Chris Dawson, defending, said his client, of Lynton Ridge, Llandegla, initially believed that the lorry driver was the “villain of the piece”.
He accepted that it was “inappropriate” for Morris to go over the double white lines to overtake the lorry and it had been “aggressive” driving.
However, Mr Dawson added: “Whatever the potential for an accident resulting from Mr Morris’s manoeuvres in fact there wasn’t an accident and no-one was injured.”
The solicitor said any driving ban would cause Morris, who has five dependent children, “exceptional hardship” as they live in a rural location and need to attend appointments.
Both Morris – who has three forklift truck and excavator driving licences – and his partner gave evidence to back up this claim.
But chairman of the bench Peter Campbell noted the aggressive manner of driving on a road with a “high level of traffic”.
He handed the defendant the ban adding: “We do not find that you have demonstrated exceptional hardship – rather, inconvenience.
“This is down to the fact that there is another adult (his partner) available to drive.”
He added that arrangements can be made with the NHS for patients to go to any hospital appointments.
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A 36-year-old man who was arrested after a fatal crash on the A303 in Somerset has been released without charge.
The collision happened on Wednesday (June 16) at around 10:30pm, near Sparkford.
Sadly, the driver of the car, a 32-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A car and a lorry were involved in the collision which happened at about 10.30pm on Wednesday 16 June. Sadly the driver of the car, a 32-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our thoughts are with his family, who are being supported by specially trained officers.
“A man arrested in connection with the collision has since been released without charge.
“If you have any information or dashcam footage which could help the investigation, call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5221134914.”
It saw total victory for the Sheffield haulier, which grew with the popularity of road transport, while the giant rail depot withered with the decline of the steel industry and died.
But the story has a twist.
For the trucking firm has just spent £3m reviving the railhead. And co-founder Frank Newell say it’s his crowning achievement.
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Over just seven weeks earlier this year, the company laid out three acres of concrete and 700 yards of track and reconnected the yard to the rail network.
Today it is home to more than 800 shipping containers and receives two 34-wagon freight trains a day from the port of Felixstowe.
The service saves up to 400,000 road miles a week, cutting lorry pollution and congestion, and is already close to its 1,000 container capacity.
Frank, aged 69, said its popularity was a relief.
“It was a very big commitment for us as a family business. I’ve been in business for 50 years and have always taken educated gambles. You get to the stage where you have to play forward and do it.
“It’s the best thing I have done. I’m so proud of what we have achieved.”
A mechanic by trade, his youngest son, Anthony, aged 17, is employed in the workshop ‘on the spanners’ learning lorry maintenance.
Sons Stephen, 43, and John, 49, also worked their way up.
Frank added: “Going through the ranks gives them a good insight.”
He started with one lorry in 1971 and, with Paul Wright, built the firm into a £50m-a-year business that employs 300.
It is one of just a handful of road hauliers that have moved into rail and Tinsley is the only operation of its type in South Yorkshire, it is claimed.
Stephen said growing concerns about climate change led the firm to move fast.
“You have to be careful you don’t get left behind,” he added.
Containers are mostly from China and India and hold everything from patio slabs to clothing to car parts. But they do not have high value items like iPhones or ‘high consequence products’ like fireworks.
About 55 can fit on a train and they are unloaded by four £500,000 ‘box stackers’, including one which runs on hydrogenated vegetable oil, a green fuel.
Containers are taken to their final destination by lorry, some 80 a day in a 24-hour operation.
Stephen said they had used local suppliers, with concrete from Cemex in Attercliffe, reinforcing from BRC in Barnsley and ballast from Aggregate Industries’ quarry in Buxton.
The site is owned by Network Rail and leased to Newell & Wright for 35 years, with a reduction on rent because it is a brownfield site, he added.
Its success meant they planned to add two more services, with freight trainers from Southampton and London Gateway on the Suffolk coast.
A second phase of expansion could see a similar-sized platform and storage area built to the south, closer to the bridge over the Parkway, near Junction 33 of the M1.
A third phase could use land to the north, close to two large warehouses that were built on what was the widest part of the marshalling yard.
In 1961, a tenth of the rail-borne freight in Britain originated in the Sheffield district. Tinsley Marshalling Yard was opened by the infamous Dr Richard Beeching in 1965 to serve the steel industry. At its height it handled 200 locomotives and 3,000 wagons a day.
But within a few short years it was hit by competition from road and closed in stages from 1985.
Duncan Clark, of Newell and Wright, said part of the site was cut out of rock and part was electrified, receiving electric trains from Manchester that came through the now closed Woodhead tunnel.
The yard was disused and disconnected from the rail network when Newell and Wright took it on. A new link was laid to the north connecting to a local line near Shepcote junction and then on to Rotherham station, Doncaster and the East Coast Mainline.
The company hopes to connect the site from the south providing a simpler and more direct route into the network, he added.
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts said the company’s achievement was ‘fantastic’ and he would speak to the mayor of South Yorkshire and Department of Transport about providing financial backing.
He added: “I think what they have done is incredible and what they want to do is fantastic. It’s really rising to the climate challenge.
“I will be speaking to the mayor about how we can engage, this is a really important part of local infrastructure and should benefit a lot of firms.
“It’s also of national significance and I’ll be speaking to the Department of Transport about providing some sort of financial backing and support.
“There have been various plans over the years to reopen the yard but these guys have done it.”
Kevin Newman, senior route freight manager for Network Rail, hailed the site as part of the ‘vital role that freight has played in the country’s response to the Covid pandemic and how important it is to the recovery of the economy’.
“Reopening routes, expanding services and gaining new freight customers, as well as running longer, heavier trains, is helping to get more HGVs off the road.”
Newell & Wright Transport was formed in 1974 by Frank Newell and Paul Wright. At that time it was a ‘very small general haulage company’ operating from rented premises.
Over the years it grew and moved to larger sites three times before setting up, in 1987, on its current 6.5 acre freehold site at Tinsley.