Both the Environment Agency (EA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will prosecute Shell UK over the incident which happened almost three years ago.

In a joint statement both organisations said the firm would face a total of five charges relating to ‘serious breaches’ of environmental and health and safety legislation.

The decision to prosecute follows a lengthy investigation into the causes of the explosion and fire at the Bacton Gas Terminal, in Norfolk in February 2008.

No one was hurt in the blast but almost 50 employees were evacuated from the site which supplies about a fifth of the UK’s gas.

The five charges, two under both health and safety and environmental rules and one joint charge under major accident regulations, will be heard

An initial court hearing is set for January 20 next year at Norwich City Magistrates’ Court.

Luke Walsh

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