Swan Hunter has submitted an application to the UK Environment Agency for a licence modification to allow it to dismantle ships at its yard in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear.
The company’s proposed method of working involves a floating dry dock which will be used to tow ships into the yard before being sealed to prevent any potentially contaminated materials escaping.
The company already has an existing waste management licence to dismantle oil and gas rigs at the site. The Environment Agency is treating the new application as a modification to that licence.
Environment Agency manager Graham Donachie said: “As part of the application process Swan Hunter has had to carry out a full assessment of any possible impact this new operation could have on the environment and human health.
“They will have to satisfy us that proper measures can be put in place to prevent any environmental harm before we can make any modification to the licence.”
Swan Hunter has a waste management licence for its Wallsend site which allows it to handle permitted wastes to a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year.
A two month licence modification determination period will also involve the Health and Safety Executive and North Tyneside Council. The licence modification application is available for inspection on the Environment Agency’s public register at its Newcastle office.