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Buncefield incident - community impact

"No one lost their life because of the Buncefield explosion. But many people lost the lives they had before it happened."
Director of Dacorum Borough Council, Chair of the Buncefield Community Recovery Taskforce

The explosion and subsequent fire at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead on 11 December 2005 had a massive impact on the local community. As well as residents living near to the depot, it also affected hundreds of people employed on the Maylands Industrial Estate.

This was the largest and the most lengthy emergency response that Dacorum Council has ever had to deal with.


"The constant upheaval of moving in and out continuously affects all parts of your life. It disrupts school, work, relationships, it pushes you to the point where you think you just can't stand another second of it.

You are forced to remove all that 'makes' you and your family and live in the sterile environment of the insurers choosing. You have no privacy or personal life, let alone family life. It strips the very fabric of your life.

It is enough to break a marriage, let alone children. It is by far the worst experience we have ever had to endure. What is the hardest part is no-one else truly understands how far-reaching the effects are and it is too soul destroying to explain. The only others who understand are those who experience it. It makes you feel part of a small forgotten group of people."
A local resident whose home was badly damaged by the blast

Employment and Financial Impact

"I have lost count of the number of jobs I have applied for over the past year or so, and not heard back from which I find distressing... I just want a job, any job so that I don't have to rely on the Trust Fund to keep helping me out."

"Thank you for all the help you have given supporting me through a very difficult 18 months, both with vital money for living after losing my job because of Buncefield and helping with re-training. The good news is that I've now got a job because of it, and can now look forward to the future. Without the Recovery Fund my life would have been truly bleak. I don't know what I would have done."
Two people who received help and support from the Dacorum Community Trust

Health Impact

"Counselling has been good because it's made me stronger."
Boy aged 7

"You have really helped me find out what I want and how I feel. Thank you."
Girl aged 12

Community Legacy

Further Information

Most of the information in this fact sheet is taken from the Report of the Buncefield Recovery Taskforce: December 2005-December 2007. This report can be viewed on the Dacorum Borough Council website.

Updated 2012-02-29