Letter: ICI's record on the environment

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The Independent Online
Sir: I wish to point out that the information on ICI in the article 'Pressure group names top 100 legal polluters' (24 July) is untrue and misleading. As such, it does nothing to advance public discussion on serious issues.

The list issued by Friends of the Earth names ICI Dental Products as having the second-largest consent agreement for disposal of waste metals (522kg per day). The fact is that ICI Dental Products was divested by the company in 1990 and its Macclesfield operation closed. The article also quotes a consent figure of 164kg of metals per day for ICI Macclesfield. It is important to understand that this figure is based on an assumption of the maximum allowable concentration of metals in the discharge and the maximum allowable discharge flow volume. In practice, daily sampling at the Macclesfield factory shows that we are consistently achieving actual discharges of less than 1.5kg per day of metals, which is typically less than 1 per cent of our consent level.

ICI Pharmaceuticals takes its environmental responsibilities extremely seriously, which is reflected in the very low level of the discharges in question and our continuing investment to reduce all types of waste produced. We are completely open about our environmental record, and our site at Macclesfield has been visited by residents' groups, local councillors and the press, with whom we share information on environmental performance.

More broadly, in March this year, ICI was one of the first UK companies to publish data on the emissions of both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes from its world-wide operations and the company is always willing to discuss its operations openly with interested people.

Yours sincerely,


Technical Director

ICI Pharmaceuticals

Macclesfield, Cheshire

28 July