The greatest concerns for Emergency Responders, in particular Firefighters is the burning of plastics.
Plastic fire flames spread at 2 feet per second which is 10 times faster than dry wood.
Firefighters have to wear self contained breathing apparatus (S.C.B.A.s) as many of these highly toxic fumes are invisible even after the smoke and smell has cleared.
When fires occur in these factories, burning Polyethylene melts. This smells like wax and produces dripping melting flaming material that spreads the fire more rapidly than in a typical industrial unit.
The Skibbereen plastics factory application does not currently include fire suppression measures (like using steel shutters and CO2) to prevent the spread of fire!! This system is in use in the likes of Irish Distillers.
The evacuation of residents locally and the Nursing Home and Retirement Village is a major concern as many of the residents at the home already have breathing difficulties and some are on oxygen, which is highly flammable.
As per the manufacturer of the processing equipment that will be used in this factory, the process is highly flammable, highly combustible and highly dangerous. In the UK alone, there are 6-10 Plastic Factory fires per year.
A huge problem is the amount of dust that is produced and this dust isn’t harmless!
Daly Products Limited consultants say that they will use a Vario Dry Separator.
“An explosive environment can be created depending on the character and composition of dusts” / “as many dusts are combustible and explosive“. – Keller Lufttechnik – Manufacturer of the Vario Dry Separator.
The above factors with dust, solvents, high temperatures make a plastics factory a dangerous environment to work in or live near, not to mention the emissions that the chimneys disperse.
We have personally spoken to local Firefighters and they have said they have not had any briefing on this factory or the risks it poses.
There is no mention on the planning application of refrigerators for the storage of chemicals like solvents – this is amazing considering what is at stake!
But that fact is not surprising really as information from Daly Products Limited and their consultants, Verdé, have been sparse in the extreme so can slip through planning stages without environmental impact studies, environment discharge licences, industrial emissions licences or waste water discharge licences.
If An Bord Pleanála grant this plastics factory planning permission then a Freedom of Information (F.O.I.) request will need to be sent to the Fire Service & also to the Health & Safety Authority to ascertain what has been required by them in relation to these concerns.
If you have been assured by Daly Products Limited or any local Councillor, think again and look at this closely.
Is West Cork a suitable location for such a development?
Is it equipped to deal with a major Plastic Factory fire?
Who will pay for the damage to the environment caused by the run-off of waters after such a fire?
Who will pay for the evacuation of local residents and residents at the local nursing home and retirement village?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, please let us know.