Austrian engineer critical after UK anaerobic digester incident
22 August 2014
On August 20 an engineer working for Austrian company Himmel was seriously injured in a gas explosion at a farm at Chittering, Cambridgeshire, where he was involved in building a multi-million pound anaerobic digestion plant for Pretoria Energy Company Ltd. He was described as being in a in a “critical, but stable” condition by a spokesman at nearby Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where he was taken by air ambulance.
Speaking about the incident, a spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “Officers were called to reports of a man suffering serious injuries following a gas explosion at a premises in Ely Road, Chittering.”
But Steven Ripley, one of Pretoria Energy's directors, said there had not been an explosion at the plant. "The injured engineer was working with two colleagues when something went wrong - a large tube came loose and hit him in the chest," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirmed that inspectors visited the site after the incident and that an investigation is under way.
Cambridge News said Pretoria Energy had been involved in a pollution incident in 2012 after maize being stored for anaerobic digestion at another site polluted at least 2km of the River Cam with poisonous silage effluent.
The prosecution was brought by the Environment Agency and the penalty imposed was a £10,000 fine, £10,000 towards legal costs and a £200 victim surcharge.