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Prosecution resulting from Buncefield explosion

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It is five years since Britain was rocked by a huge explosion at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot in Hertfordshire.

On 11 December 2005, vapour from thousands of gallons of petrol ignited causing an explosion measuring 2.4 on the Richter Scale. It was Britain's most costly industrial disaster.

A four month trial at St Alban's Crown Court concluded in July 2010, with five companies being found guilty and ordered to pay a total of £9.5 million in fines and costs.

One of the companies involved is currently appealing against conviction and sentencing.

A report published in February 2011 concluded that fundamental safety management failings were the root cause of the disaster.

Aerial view of Buncefield explosion

Video case study

Simon Jearrad

Eyewitness Simon Jearrad recalls the Buncefield disaster

Video case study

Map of evidence

Section of map of evidence used in the Buncefield prosecution

Photographs and video footage from different areas of the Buncefield site.

Map of evidence

Download latest evidence


Download a package of all photos and videos released to date.

Full details of verdicts and pleas

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency (EA) have successfully prosecuted five companies.

More about the prosecution

The wider perspective

More related information

Updated 2015-06-15