£750,000 cost of fertiliser spill

By David LennardTRADERS fear the closure of a town's High Street after a tractor shed its load of fertiliser could have cost them as much as £750,000.

By David Lennard

TRADERS fear the closure of a town's High Street after a tractor shed its load of fertiliser could have cost them as much as £750,000.

Businesses in Southwold were left fuming on Saturday when High Street was sealed off for more than six hours following the incident.

Stephan Cornell, chairman of the Southwold Chamber of Trade, said he thought that traders faced a deficit of about £750,000 in lost revenue and other costs.

“I have been in personal contact with many of our members and we believe we are looking at something in the region of £750,000 compensation,” he added.

“A whole range of businesses including hotels, pubs and restaurants were affected and greengrocers were obliged to destroy all the produce that was on display outside their stores.

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“It was a very serious incident indeed that had major consequences for all the traders in the area.

“We have written to all our members giving them appropriate advice about how to make an insurance claim to cover the losses they have faced.”

Mr Cornell said he had spoken to many of the traders affected by the closure of High Street and believed many would be making insurance claims to try to recover their losses.

“It is up to the individual shops and businesses to make their own claims, but we are here to give advice and offer any help we can,” he added.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said the success of compensation claims would depend on the wording of individual policies.

“It is likely there would have to be a denial of access cover included in the appropriate commercial insurance policy for a claim to be successful,” he added.

There were no serious injuries in the incident, but a woman shop assistant was taken to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston as a precaution after feeling unwell.

She had been sweeping up the spilt fertiliser from outside the store where she works and was said to still have a sore chest yesterday, but was not believed to be seriously injured.

Watercourses had to be blocked off in case the fertiliser - ammonium nitrate - got into nearby Buss Creek as it would have proved toxic for fish.

Specialist tankers were called in and the fertiliser was eventually cleared shortly before 4pm on Saturday, more than six hours after the alarm was raised.

Suffolk police are currently carrying out an investigation into the incident to see if any traffic offences were committed.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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