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Energy / Health and safety watchdog satisfied with procedures at decommissioning site

WASTE specialist Veolia has dismissed any suggestion that the smoke seen billowing from the Ninian Northern platform, currently being decommissioned at Dales Voe in Lerwick, could have been toxic.

A fire developed at the industrial site on Saturday, sending large amounts of smoke into the air for an extended period.

One fire appliance from Lerwick attended at around midday but fire fighters were told they were not needed as the on-site team was already dealing with the incident.

Following further questions from Shetland News on Tuesday Veolia released a second statement a short while ago reassuring local people that all hazardous materials were removed from the 14,000 tonne structure prior to demolition work getting underway.

Meanwhile the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed it was satisfied with the company’s procedure.

A Veolia spokesperson said: “Our decommissioning sites have full risk assessments in place and fire-watch procedures to anticipate and respond immediately to any potential fires.

“Veolia completed a robust nine-month decontamination phase to remove all hazardous materials from the platform prior to any demolition work commencing.”

HSE said earlier in the day that the risk of fire had been foreseeable and planned for.

“An HSE inspector carried out a site inspection at the Lerwick decommissioning facility on the 31 August 2021 and was satisfied that Veolia has robust plans and fire-watch measures in place”, a HSE spokesperson said.

“Because suitable and sufficient measures for dealing with a fire were in place, when a fire did start, it was spotted straight away, dealt with swiftly and in accordance with their procedures.

“HSE is satisfied that the company’s procedures were implemented correctly and won’t be taking any further action.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) added: “We were made aware of a small fire at a decommissioned oil platform at Dales Voe on Saturday 18 September by the site operator.

“The fire was brought under control that day and after discussions with the site operator to evaluate the incident and potential impacts we have no concerns that the fire has resulted in any environmental damage.”