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Buncefield trial committed to a higher court

The trial of five companies charged over the 2005 Buncefield oil fire in Hertfordshire has been committed to crown court.

Legal representatives for Total UK, Hertfordshire Oil Storage, British Pipeline Agency, TAV Engineering and Motherwell Control Systems faced West Hertfordshire Magistrates’ Court last week to be told the case would be heard by a higher court.

The companies, prosecuted following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency, face charges over the incident whichcaused widespread damage and injured more than 40 people.

The December 2005 explosion, thought to be the largest blast in peacetime Europe, was the result of a spillage of 300 tonnes of petrol from the top of one of the tanks at the site in Hemel Hempstead.

It measured 2.4 on the Richter scale and could be heard 125 miles away.

Claims arising from the incident are understood to have totalled more than £750 million.

The case was adjourned until a hearing at St Albans Crown Court on 15 June.

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