A COUNCIL has joined dozens of residents in raising “serious concerns” about a bid to more than double the size of a chemical storage site.
Castle Point Council fears that an application by storage company Oikos to expand its site on Haven Road, Canvey could lead to more flood risks and traffic.
The council sent responses to Oikos’s consultation which ran throughout spring over the plan to expand the liquid storage facilities from 290,000 m3 to 600,000 m3.
The plans also involve new giant tanks on the south side of the estate.
Tory councillor for Canvey West, Jay Blissett, said: “We don’t have the road infrastructure to support this application, and the site is too close to people’s homes. If there is a need to improve the resilience of the local fuel network in the South East, then they should expand the Isle of Grain or upgrade the Navigator or Thames oil ports. They are a lot further away from residential populations than Oikos.
“Oikos need to listen to the people of Canvey and abandon their plans.”
The council’s concerns come after a huge protest took place outside the site on Haven Road on May 18, which was eventually dispersed by the police.
Lifelong Canvey resident John Webb, who lives near the consultation zone, said: “The fact is there could be an incident and there’s no way to evacuate 40,000 people.
“Off site planning wouldn’t work and the residents would panic and move and block Canvey Way and stop rescue services getting in.
“The more activity there is, there is an increase in risk. One more person on the site is an increase in risk.
“The last estimate was it would take 19 hours to evacuate the island, but that was some years ago.
“The new local plan wants to put another 1,500 houses. With two cars per house that’s 3,000 cars. It just can’t happen.”
Tony Woodward, General Manager of Oikos Storage Ltd, said feedback from residents and the council was being carefully considered and that they do not see issues over traffic and flooding.
He said: “We operate a very modern facility that is fully compliant with necessary standards and requirements, and any future development will be built to the latest standards and overseen by independent regulators including the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive under stringent regulations that control development at the site and their subsequent operation. “
Mr Woodward said the new facility would be “crucial” to the UK fuel supply and would be “rigorously reviewed” at every stage.