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Glaxo Return To The Scene of the Crime

March 22nd, 2012 by BOB FIDDAMAN



How GSK's Ulverston factory looked in 2008


GlaxoSmithKline have announced that they are investing 500million into manufacturing in the UK, including the opening of a new factory in Ulverston, Cumbria.

Good news for the British economy but not so good, one would imagine, for the local residents of  Ulverston.

This from the Corporate Watch website:


According to the Factory Watch website, GSKs chemical plant in Ulverston is one of the most carcinogenic polluters in the UK. Factory Watchs information, compiled from Environment agency data, looked at over 1,500 factories nation-wide. The Ulverston site was ranked number three on Factory Watchs list, emitting 773 tonnes of carcinogens in 2001, 10 per cent of the national total.


In September 1992 the Ulverston site (then owned by Glaxo Wellcome) dumped several toxic chemicals in the river Leven, without authorisation. The chemicals included trichloroethylene, chloroform, and chlorobenzene.[1]


Also, in May 1994, the Ulverston site discharged, again without authorisation, 1,350m3 of ineffectively treated effluent into M. The company was required by law to notify the authorities within 24 hours, but they didnt until six days later.[2]

The new plant in Ulverston is expected to be up and running by 2020... plenty of time for the local residents to move away from the area then.

I'm reminded of a great scene from the movie Erin Brockovich.


[At the meeting with the PG & E lawyers]


Ms. Sanchez: Let's be honest here. $20 million dollars is more money then these people have ever dreamed of.
Erin Brockovich: Oh see, now that angers me off. First of all, since the demur we have more than 400 plaintiffs and... let's be honest, we all know there are more out there. They may not be the most sophisticated people but they do know how to divide and $20 million isn't !**@! when you split it between them. Second of all, these people don't dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying that they'll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of twenty. Like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours. Or have their spine deteriorate, like Stan Blume, another client of ours. So before you come back here with another lame ass offer, I want you to think real hard about what your spine is worth, Mr. Walker. Or what you might expect someone to pay you for your uterus, Ms. Sanchez. Then you take out your calculator and you multiply that number by a hundred. Anything less than that is a waste of our time.

[Ms. Sanchez picks up a glass of water]


Erin Brockovich: By the way, we had that water brought in special for you folks. Came from well in Hinkley.



1. Friends of the Earth, Factory Watch press release, 8 February, 1999
2. ENDS Report 292, May 1999, pp. 33-34


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