Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Abum Sarkodie

The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Abum Sarkodie, has said, there is no existing law against the siting of Gas and Fuel refilling stations within residential areas, rather, in the absence of the law, there are guidelines that determines the establishment of these stations, indicating a certain distance between the fuel station and facilities.

He was speaking at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, with regards to last Saturday’s gas explosion at the Madina Atomic junction, which claimed seven lives, leaving 130 injured. The EPA’s focus he said, was on safety, thus, these recurring accidents would have been reduced by the stations abiding with the laid down safety standards.

There have been a great concerns about the spate of siting LPG stations near residential areas, which the most recent one is about the legitimacy of the demand by UPSA for a fuel station close to the university campus to be relocated, following the tragedy which affected some of its students.

However, he said, In the case of fuel service stations, they can be sited in either commercial, mixed-used areas or residential areas, whereas the guidelines sets separating distances when it comes to facilities like churches, hospitals, and schools. More so, LPG stations can only be sited in light and heavy industrial areas, that is for new projects.

This guidelines, he said, was reviewed only two years ago, after the June 3 twin disaster that claimed 151 lives in 2015 at the GOIL fuel station at Circle.

Mr. Sarkodie said, for the EPA, their concern is about the safety of citizens, and not necessarily about the siting of fuel stations.

“The tragedy is of great concern to the EPA. EPA is working with the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Fire Service, Town and Country planning, Oil Marketing Companies, to understand what happened last Saturday,” he said.

The EPA, according to him, has constituted a technical committee to review all applications to improve quality assurance and also enhance its staff expertise to do proper review.

The Executive Director further elaborated the process of obtaining an environmental permit to set up a fuel station. That, there should be a site plan, a no-objection letter from NPA, bloc plan and neighbourhood consultation forms.

This is followed by a visit from EPA officials to the proposed site of the fuel station to verify the information supplied. And if it confirms the names and contacts of neighbours and then later writes to the Town and Country Planning for information on the zoning status of the site, the EPA will then review all the information and takes a decision on the application.

The permit is subject to renewal after every 18 months.

By:Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh


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