Oil Company Pleads Guilty to Buncefield Blast charges

PUBLISHED: 14:48 13 November 2009 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 May 2010

OIL giant Total UK has pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the Buncefield blast which shook the area in December 2005. The company entered written pleas at the Old Bailey on three counts – exposing staff and the public to risk and allowing water belo

OIL giant Total UK has pleaded guilty to charges in relation to the Buncefield blast which shook the area in December 2005.

The company entered written pleas at the Old Bailey on three counts - exposing staff and the public to risk and allowing water below the depot to become polluted following the massive explosion.

The blast at the Hemel Hempstead oil depot, which is on the fringes of the St Albans district, sparked the biggest fire in peacetime Europe and caused widespread damage.

Four other companies - Herts Oil Storage Ltd, British Pipeline Agency, TAV Engineering and Motherwell Control Systems 2003 - pleaded not guilty to health and safety charges in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency.

Total is not expected to be sentenced until trials are held for the other companies but a date has been provisionally fixed for April next year at St Albans Crown Court.

Earlier this year, Total was ordered to pay the property damage bills of residents and businesses whose property was damaged in the blast. Many are yet to receive any compensation and Total is expected to appeal against the decision next year.


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