Five years on from the incident, when fire raged through the Buncefield Depot, two sets of locked gates block either entrance to Cherry Tree Lane. Ecologia, jointly instructed by Hertfordshire County Council and Total UK, are to undertake investigations at the Lane a public highway that runs through the heart of the Oil Depot.
Cherry Tree Lane, forms a natural dip in the centre of the Depot. Here, during the Incident in 2005, large volumes of fire-fighting water mixed with oil from ruptured pipes and tanks formed large pools of contaminative liquid. Although liquids were removed by tanker or otherwise escaped into the ground during the weeks that followed, the Lane has been closed to the public ever since.
Using a combination of targeted and strategic sampling, Ecologia proposes to assess the level of residual contamination within the roadway and verges. Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) coupled with statistical analysis will identify potential remediation requirements. The risk assessment will assume unrestricted access to the Lane and verges by vulnerable members of society, particularly children.
The completion of QRA coupled with potential remediation and reparation of damaged infrastructure will ultimately allow Hertfordshire County Council to reopen Cherry Tree Lane to the public, in the knowledge that it is safe to do so.