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Bosley Mill owner fined for explosion which killed four people

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[1], suspended for 18 months and handed a £12,000 fine at Chester Crown Court[2] 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.

Dorothy Bailey, 62, Derek William Barks, 51, Derek Moore, 62, and Jason Shingler, 38, died in the blast in Bosley near Macclesfield[3] in 2015.

Others were seriously injured, and the sheer scale and impact of the explosion and the loss of lives that resulted, devastated the local community.

Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker[4]

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.[5]

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[6], 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.

A joint investigation was launched between Cheshire Constabulary and the Health and Safety Executive, assisted by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.[7]

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.”

References

  1. ^ prison (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ Chester Crown Court (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  3. ^ Bosley near Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  4. ^ Top story: Man cut out of car with broken legs after head-on crash with reckless lorry overtaker (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  5. ^ failing to protect its employees from the risk of fire. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  6. ^ Macclesfield (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  7. ^ Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)

Shop’s lorry parks in road after bollards put on pavement

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.

Bollards were installed[1] outside the Biedronki shop to stop “dangerous” parking on the pavement by the lorry and customers, at the beginning of the month on June 5.

The Polish grocery shop in Barton Street[2] has been caught up in a parking row since December, after an elderly man collapsed[3] trying to squeeze past the parked vehicles crowding the pavement.

Read more: Shopkeeper receives racist comments over parking row[4]

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.

Get the biggest stories from across Gloucestershire straight to your inbox, click here[5]

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’

Biedronki shop
‘I fear for the drivers,’ said a concerned resident (Image: Ebrahim Moosajee)

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

Michael Radoszko, general manager of Polish grocery shop Biedronki in Barton Street
Michael Radoszko was advised to have his delivery lorries park behind this bus stop (Image: Samuel Port)

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’

Before and after bollards were installed infront of Biedronki (Image: Ebrahim Moosajee)

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

Delivery lorry parked on carriageway outside Biedronki shop in Barton Street
The council says it will continue to work with the community (Image: Ebrahim Moosajee)

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.”

References

  1. ^ were installed (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ Barton Street (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
  3. ^ elderly man collapsed (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
  4. ^ Shopkeeper receives racist comments over parking row (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
  5. ^ click here (http)

‘Aggressive’ BMW driver overtook lorry before slamming on brakes in front of it

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.

A court heard the potential for damage in any accident on the main Denbigh[1] to Ruthin road was “huge”.

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.

READ MORE: Picture shows aftermath of serious barn fire caused by grinder sparks[2]

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.

Have your say on this story in the comments section.

References

  1. ^ Denbigh (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Picture shows aftermath of serious barn fire caused by grinder sparks (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Caernarfon (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ Llandudno (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  5. ^ Mold (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  6. ^ click here (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  7. ^ North Wales Court Reports Facebook group (www.facebook.com)

Man died after walking onto M60 into path of lorry, inquest hears

An inquest has opened into a man who died after walking onto the M60 motorway into the path of a lorry.

Jan Kocurek, 45, was seen on CCTV accessing the motorway near junction 17, close to Whitefield and Prestwich, at 11am on Saturday, April 24.

He then walked into the traffic from the hard shoulder, an inquest opening at Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard.

A Ford Transit was travelling clockwise passing under the bridge of Bury New Road when it collided with him in lane two. A lorry then hit joiner Mr Kocurek in lane one.

The motorway was closed from around 11.30am until around 6pm[1] after the crash, with the air ambulance landing at the scene.

READ MORE: ‘Why did you drive away?’: Driver who left grandad to die spared jail[2]

Married Mr Kocurek, of Berkley Court, Bury Old Road, Salford, was critically ill in Salford Royal Hospital until June 4 when he died.

Assistant coroner for Manchester North, Julie Robertson, adjourned the hearing until January 18 next year but said the the evidence would be reviewed on October 11.

The air ambulance leaving the scene

That evidence would include an overview from Mr Kocurek’s GP, mental health services and a post mortem examination report, she said.

Following the announcement of Mr Kocurek’s death, police appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision to come forward.

Sergeant Andrew Page, from GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Despite the best efforts from hospital staff to save his life, Jan sadly passed away and our thoughts are with his family who are understandably devastated.

“We’ve been carrying out a number of enquiries since this collision happened and we’re continuing to ask any witnesses to come forward with information that may assist us with our investigation.

“Anyone who may have seen the collision, has dash-cam footage or perhaps saw the man prior to the collision is asked to call 0161 856 4741.

“Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Helplines and websites

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][3] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

For support for people feeling suicidal, if you are concerned about someone or if you are bereaved by suicide see http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk[4]

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Greater Manchester Bereavement Service Greater Manchester Bereavement Service can help to find support for anyone in Greater Manchester that has been bereaved or affected by a death. No one needs to feel alone as they deal with their grief. www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk[5]

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Beat Eating Disorders: Beat provides helplines for adults and young people offering support and information about eating disorders. These helplines are free to call from all phones. Adult Helpline: 0808 801 0677, Studentline: 0808 801 0811, Youthline: 0808 801 0711. www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk[6]

Anorexia & Bulimia Care: ABC provide on-going care, emotional support and practical guidance for anyone affected by eating disorders, those struggling personally and parents, families and friends. Helpline: 03000 11 12 13. www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/[7]

Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org[8]

For information and links to charities and organisations that can help with substance abuse, visit https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/[9]

References

  1. ^ motorway was closed from around 11.30am until around 6pm (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  2. ^ ‘Why did you drive away?’: Driver who left grandad to die spared jail (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  3. ^ [email protected] (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  4. ^ http://shiningalightonsuicide.org.uk (t.co)
  5. ^ www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk (www.greater-manchester-bereavement-service.org.uk)
  6. ^ www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk)
  7. ^ www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk/ (www.anorexiabulimiacare.org.uk)
  8. ^ studentsagainstdepression.org (www.google.com)
  9. ^ https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/drugs/ (www.supportline.org.uk)

Government lease for lorry park use at Manston will not be extended beyond June 30

Manston Photo Frank Leppard

The Government has today (June 18) confirmed that it will not extend its use of Manston airport as a lorry holding facility beyond June 30, when the current lease expires.

South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, received the news in a letter from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Rachel Maclean MP.

The Government acquired Manston for the period to the end of June as a contingency in case freight traffic was disrupted at the end of the EU Transition Period. These circumstances no longer apply.

The current assessment based on analysis of predicted tourist traffic levels during the summer and potential knock-on impact on freight traffic shows that the use of the site this summer is not required.

South Thanet MP, Craig Mackinlay, said: “I hope my South Thanet constituents and the people of Thanet and East Kent will find this decision reassuring, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their understanding over these last few months.”

Operations at the site were officially suspended at the end of March.[1]

Hundreds of staff worked at the lorry park on temporary contracts and it is understood they were offered transfer to other sites including Ashford, Thurrock, Ebbsfleet and a new one being developed at Guston.

The contract to use part of the Manston site as a lorry park was extended until the end of June 2021 in a deal made between landowners RiverOak Strategic Partners, former landowners but lorry site operators Stone Hill Park and the Department of Transport.

The site came into use earlier than the planned January 1 date after the French government closed the border to UK travellers and accompanied freight going into the country shortly before Christmas over fears of the spreading ‘Kent’ variant of covid.

The move led to the site being parked up to capacity with a large backlog of HGVs on county roads.

Photo Hazel Nicholls

Currently further representations are invited for the Secretary of State’s re-determination of the application by RiverOak Strategic Partners for an order granting Development Consent for the reopening and development of Manston Airport.

The Secretary of State has also appointed an independent aviation assessor to advise him on matters relating to the need for the development and to produce a report summarising those findings.

Submission deadline is July 9.

A Development Consent Order granting approval for an air freight hub at Manston airport  was  quashed in February with a new decision now needing to be issued after a re-examination of the Planning Inspectorate evidence.

The action came as the result of a Judicial Review challenge to the decision, launched by Ramsgate resident Jenny Dawes last year, which was to have been heard in the High Court.

The substantive hearing was due to look at whether the Government followed correct procedure in reaching the decision to approve the DCO for airport landowners RiverOak Strategic Partners.

But, last December the Department of Transport acknowledged that the decision approval letter issued from the Minister of State did not contain enough detail about why approval was given against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and said the Judicial Review would not be contested.

An official consent order was issued from the court to quash the DCO.

Responses should be sent by email to [email protected][2], marked “For the attention of the Manston Airport Case Team”.

Representations and the new reports will be available to see after the deadline at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/manston-airport/[3]

Driver shortage causes UK supply crisis

A shortage of lorry drivers is resulting in fresh produce being dumped or left to rot in cold stores, while supermarket shelves and restaurant plates go empty, produce suppliers and retailers warn.

The driver deficit – the worst in over 20 years, according to driver recruitment agency Driver Require – is the result of an exodus of EU drivers post-Brexit and government failure to recruit a replacement workforce. The coronavirus pandemic, which has prevented driving tests and training for over a year, as well as a hike in driver costs, has exacerbated the shortfall.

Haulage companies are therefore struggling to deliver goods – either imported or domestically produced – to UK retailers and restaurants, causing delays and product losses, and empty plates and shelves, distributors say.

Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, is understood to have informed the UK Government’s Department of Transport that its suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of fresh food every week because there are too few lorry drivers to transport produce to stores.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is so concerned that it has urged the government to consider having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.

“It’s shocking, but it’s true. The acute shortage of HGV drivers is now the direct cause of perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce being dumped or left rotting in coldstores,” Tim O’Malley, managing director of major UK produce distributor Nationwide Produce, told FPJ. “In all my years in fresh produce I’ve never seen anything like this. Goods are being produced, but not delivered.”

The current situation – dubbed a national crisis by some suppliers – is predicted to get worse as the UK continues to open up after lockdown, and demand increases from hospitality and retail.

Brexit clearance issues and a global shortage of shipping containers are further deepening transport problems for imported produce, one source told FPJ.

“The driver shortage has reached crisis point for some of our members and we believe it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases,” said FWD chief executive James Bielby.

“With the estimated 70,000 shortfall in HGV drivers, some wholesalers have had to limit the number of deliveries they make to convenience stores which has led to some availability issues.

“We’ve asked the government to re-instate the temporary extension of drivers’ hours (from 9 to 11) which was in place last year but ended recently. Other proposals we are putting forward include ending furlough for HGV drivers, temporarily waiving requirements for medical certs and CPC for those which have run out, and using army drivers to deliver to vulnerable communities.”

Meanwhile, in an open letter to the FPJ, Nationwide Produce’s O’Malley urged produce industry suppliers to work with hauliers and customers to get through this crisis.

“I would urge you not to shout at your hauliers and threaten them with bills, as that will get you nowhere – work with them to find solutions,” he wrote. “Customers will have to be far more flexible on delivery times. We also need to stop hauling fresh air around the country. Full pallets and full loads are what we need in a crisis like this.”

O’Malley added that customers need to be more flexible on date codes to allow direct deliveries from abroad. “I’m sure this will eventually lead us all to adopt better practices, but for now we need to work together to find a way through this crisis,” he said.

Alex Veitch, general manager – public policy at Logistics UK, added: “With a large pool of potential candidates available, owing to the nation’s higher unemployment, Logistics UK is urging the government to make HGV driver training affordable, accessible and attractive for all. 

“Our 2021 Logistics Report shows that 29 per cent of logistics businesses anticipate that they will be unable to fill vacancies for HGV drivers this year; a further 14.5 per cent expect long delays before filling a role. With the logistics industry in urgent need of these workers, Logistics UK is urging the government to include training for HGV Drivers in their list of courses funded through the National Skills Fund to reskill potential employees and help recruit them into the industry.

“Logistics UK is also urging the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to maintain its fast-track programme to catch-up on at least 30,000 driving tests that were postponed due to COVID-19 between March and December 2020; this has left thousands of potential HGV drivers waiting in the wings when the UK needs them most to support every facet of UK PLC.”