IAN Sutheran, General Manager of Castle Cement, Clitheroe (Letters, January 21), says that it is I who am guilty of issuing erroneous statements regarding HM Inspectorate of Pollution's withdrawal of the authorisation for Castle to burn 'Cemfuel' in Kiln 7, in September, 1994.

Mr Sutheran has now taken the trouble to write to me personally on the subject, pointing out that a court might well view my comments as 'defamatory' and that I would be embarrassed at being proved wrong.

But how can Mr Sutheran claim that Castle voluntarily stopped burning 'Cemfuel' in Kiln 7 on September 12, 1994, when HMIP had already stopped them burning it three days earlier by issuing a Variation Notice "withdrawing their authorisation?"

The statement that the authorisation was withdrawn has been repeated many times since by HMIP, Central Government and Ribble Valley Council and, most importantly, in the Environment Agency's Consultation Document (December, 1998) relating to the present application to burn 'Cemfuel' in Kiln 7.

J M MORTIMER (Mrs), Green Drive, Clitheroe.

Footnote: An Environment Agency spokesman said: "In 1994, the Agency's predecessor, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution, held discussions with Castle Cement, following which the company voluntarily withdrew Cemfuel from Kiln 7.

"In September of that year, HMIP varied Castle Cement's authorisation for other reasons and included a condition withdrawing Cemfuel from Kiln 7 in order to regularise the position already taken by the works.

"The Environment Agency cannot be held responsible for statements made by any other company or organisation."

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