Opposition to plant expansion gathers steam

PUBLISHED: 16:03 19 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:19 31 May 2010

SUPPORT is growing for campaigners fighting the expansion of a chemical plant amid cancer fears. American-owned firm Hexcel is planning on expanding its current site to create a carbon fibre precursor factory, which would use the highly toxic chemical Acr

SUPPORT is growing for campaigners fighting the expansion of a chemical plant amid cancer fears.

American-owned firm Hexcel is planning on expanding its current site to create a carbon fibre precursor factory, which would use the highly toxic chemical Acrylonitrile.

The Hinxton Action Group has now got the backing of South Cambridgeshire MP and shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley.

Group member David Chater said: "Having Mr Lansley on board will make more people take notice, but we need to get the wider public behind us."

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is reviewing the plans, which are not due to go to South Cambs District Council for decision until the end of the year.

Mr Chater is concerned about the number of lorries that would be travelling to the expanded site on a daily basis carrying the toxic chemical.

"There are serious health implications, as Acrylonitrile is so toxic it causes cancer, damage to vital organs and birth defects," he said.

Mr Lansley said: "I visited Hexcel and raised issues with them. I have also made a request to the HSE to see the papers associated with the application.

"I am making sure that my constituents' views and concerns are fully and fairly pursued."

A spokesman for Hexcel, said: "As part of the planning process, Hexcel has engaged consultants to consider all the environmental, health and safety, engineering and landscaping aspects of the project.

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