CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating that plans are in place to ensure people on Canvey would be safe if a major emergency hit the island’s two power plants.

The report about being prepared for incidents at either Oikos or Calor Gas on the island has been produced by Essex County Council, following a two-year review of emergency planning requirements.

For George Whatley, 71, chairman of People Against Methane, it’s the first time a joined-up report about the county’s COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazard) sites has been produced in the 40 years he has been campaigning.

He explained the report highlights the “massive impact” top tier COMAH sites have on the people that work and live in the vicinity of them, particularly on Canvey.

Mr Whatley, of Limburg Road, Canvey, said: “The cry in the wilderness has now been heard.

“It’s a victory for the ordinary people, it’s very very important the powers that be listened to what the people had to say and stood up to the mark, I’ve got to praise them for that.

“The risk won’t go away, but in the event of a worst case scenario there are plans as to what happens and who is responsible for what.

“This has never happened before - accountability is being shown.

“For any pressure group out there it shows you can go against the odds and you can beat the odds.

“It’s not over completely but I can see the end of the battle now.”

There are two types of COMAH site, top tier and lower tier. Top tier sites hold larger amounts of dangerous substances and are subject to tougher safety requirements.

The report has made five recommendations that will be presented to Essex County Council’s cabinet. They include improving communications with the public and working with schools to educate children and adults alike about being prepared for an emergency.