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Joint statement on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency

"Five companies have today been held to account publically for the failings that led to the Buncefield explosion and the devastation that it wrought on the local community and the environment. This is the culmination of a thorough and complex investigation carried out by the Environment Agency and Health and Safety Executive into Britain's most costly petrochemical accident.

"Incidents like the explosion at Buncefield are exceptionally rare - but they should not happen at all.

"Society rightly demands the highest of standards from the high hazard industries. The risks created by these businesses must be managed effectively because when things go wrong in this sector, the consequences are severe and can destroy lives, shatter local communities and cause damage to the environment that lasts for generations.

"So the industry should be no doubt: we will always seek to prosecute those who put lives at risk and cause serious pollution.

"From the Board room down companies must ask themselves these questions: do we understand what could go wrong; do we know what our systems are to prevent this happening; and are we getting the right information to assure us they are working effectively."

Updated 2010-07-16