Agency (EA) today have received and endorsed publication of the initial
report by the independent Major Incident Investigation Board appointed to
supervise the investigation of the explosion and fires at the Buncefield
Oil Storage Depot, Hemel Hempstead, on 11 December 2005.
The Major Incident Investigation Board, chaired by Lord Newton of
Braintree, concluded that sufficient knowledge of the Buncefield incident
had been gathered to draw broad conclusions about the sequence of events
leading to the explosion although uncertainty remains about why it was so
Bill Callaghan, Chair of HSC, said:
"The Commission places on record its appreciation for the Investigation
Board's work and the thorough, objective, timely and transparent manner in
which it has gone about it. The Board recognised that the severity of the
incident was of great concern to the local community and industry, and has
made strenuous efforts to ensure that they are kept abreast of the
investigation findings as they develop. The Commission also record its
thanks to the detailed work of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and EA
staff who have supported the Board.
"The report indicates that good progress has been made in identifying the
root causes of the incident, in spite of the widespread damage caused by
the explosions and fires. It is of paramount importance to ensure that all
the lessons of Buncefield are learned to prevent recurrence of such an
incident, and to ensure the maximum effectiveness of emergency arrangements
if an incident does occur. The Commission values the actions already taken
by the HSE and EA following findings contained in earlier progress reports,
and looks to the fuel and oil storage industry to take all appropriate
The Investigation Board identified three key issues as the focus of its
· The design and operation of storage sites;
· emergency response to incidents; and,
· land use planning.
The HSC and HSE are now considering the Investigation Board's report and early conclusions, and look forward to the Board's future work.