Quango halts bid to scrap toxic vessels

Plans to dismantle a fleet of contaminated former US naval ships on Teesside have been temporarily halted by the Environment Agency.

The agency said last week that authorisations issued to allow dismantling and recovery of the ships at Able UK's yard in Hartlepool are invalid.

The invalid authorisations relate to transfrontier shipment (TFS) of waste for recovery and a modification of Able UK's waste management licence to increase the amount of waste permitted at its Greythorp site.

Last month it emerged that Able UK did not have all the necessary planning permissions for the works it is proposing (Planning, 10 October 2003, p3). While permission exists for dismantling ships on the site, Hartlepool Borough Council confirmed that this does not cover works needed to create a dry dock.

The TFS approval and a waste management licence were issued on the assumption that all relevant permissions would be in place for dry dock dismantling.

However the agency said: "Several permissions and plans, including planning permission, are not in place and dry dock working cannot be enforced."

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