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Amazon giant plans chain of UK book shops and cashless convenience stores

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amazon giant plans chain of uk book shops and cashless convenience stores

Amazon is set to open up to 30 stores on UK high streets that won’t have any checkouts.

The online retail giant has reportedly struck up a deal to open more than 10 Amazon Go convenience stores across the country with the first expected to open in London this year.

The Sunday Times paper reports Amazon is also in talks to open a further 20 more stores but that talks are still ongoing.

Amazon is reportedly in talks to open 30 Amazon Go stores in the UK (file photo of US store)

Amazon is reportedly in talks to open 30 Amazon Go stores in the UK (file photo of US store)

Amazon is reportedly in talks to open 30 Amazon Go stores in the UK (file photo of US store)

An Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, which opened in 2018 and was the first of its kind

An Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, which opened in 2018 and was the first of its kind

An Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, which opened in 2018 and was the first of its kind

Amazon will reportedly targeting transport hubs, so it can attract busy commuters who need to pick up items on the go.

The US-based company has yet to announce the plans but if they go ahead as reported, it would mark the first Amazon Go shops in the UK high street.

It works by using the same types of technologies found in self-driving cars which can detect when products are taken or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in your virtual cart.

Shoppers must scan their unique Amazon bar code on their phone to enter the store and sensor technology and cameras monitor the items picked up and taken out of the store. 

When you leave the store with your goods, your Amazon account is charged and you are sent a receipt via email.

Reports circulated earlier this year that Amazon was targeting a unit in Notting Hill for its first store putting it in direct competition with supermarket retailers Aldi and Lidl who regularly battle to win the price wars.

Tesco first tested a completely cashless store in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, back in 2018.

The store proved successful with the supermarket opening another self-service checkout-only branch in London last month.

Sainsbury’s also launched a till-free grocery shop in 2019 – in its branch, customers paid using their smartphones.

Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington, in 2018, and has other stores in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezoz is the richest man in the world as the online retailer has flourished in the pandemic. He has an estimated net worth of $181 billion (file photo)

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezoz is the richest man in the world as the online retailer has flourished in the pandemic. He has an estimated net worth of $181 billion (file photo)

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezoz is the richest man in the world as the online retailer has flourished in the pandemic. He has an estimated net worth of $181 billion (file photo)

While there are no cashiers, Amazon does keep staff on hand on the shop floor to assist customers and replenish stock.

The news comes as Amazon continues to thrive during the global coronavirus pandemic.

It revealed last week that global sales rose 40 per cent to $88.9bn (£67.9bn) in the second quarter as housebound shoppers ordered online in droves. Profits doubled to $5.2bn. 

In a separate venture, Amazon is also reportedly holding talks with shopping-centre owners to take vacant units for bookstores or for 4-Star, a shop that sells anything from toys to kitchen utensils as long as they are rated 4 and above on Amazon’s website. 

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England’s schools get powers to appeal GCSE/A-level results

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englands schools get powers to appeal gcse a level results

Schools in England will be able to appeal their students’ GCSE and A-level results if they can prove grades are lower than expected. 

England’s exams regulator has said schools and colleges can appeal if they can show historical data used to standardise grades is not a reliable indicator of this year’s results due to a change of circumstances.

However, individual pupils will not be allowed to challenge grades themselves, Ofqual has confirmed, and schools and colleges will need to appeal against results on their behalf.

The guidance – published a week before A-level results day – comes after a former private school head warned that not allowing appeals against unfair exam results risks ‘imposing a life sentence’ on some pupils.

It follows chaos in Scotland, where 124,564 pupils were marked down by exam bosses, after teachers ‘tried to give them the highest results in history’.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: 'It is vital that students with exceptional circumstances are not held back by the way grades have been calculated'

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: 'It is vital that students with exceptional circumstances are not held back by the way grades have been calculated'

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘It is vital that students with exceptional circumstances are not held back by the way grades have been calculated’

Concerns have been raised that the ‘narrow’ criteria for challenging grades may ‘exacerbate existing inequalities’ and result in legal action against exam boards.

It comes after this summer’s exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, schools and colleges were asked to submit the grades they thought students would have received if they had sat the exams.

However, it was revealed last week that statistical modelling will be used to determine the majority of this year’s A-level and GCSE results, rather than predicted grades from teachers. 

Exam regulator Ofqual announced the government u-turn after concerns regarding the reliability of teacher-predicted grades were raised.  

The new statistical model will take into account a number of factors, including pupils’ previous attainment, results of previous students at the same school and the predicted grades teachers submitted in March. 

Now, new guidance by Ofqual sets out how schools and colleges can appeal GCSE and A-level grades, which students are set to receive over the next fortnight.

Schools and colleges can appeal if they were expecting results this year to ‘show a very different pattern of grades’ to results in previous years because of the ability profile of students this year.

If a school has had a ‘significant change in leadership or governance’ – and it can provide evidence that its previous grades are ‘not a reliable indicator’ of this year’s results – it will also be allowed to challenge results.

If a single-sex school has changed to co-educational – or a school has experienced a ‘monumental event’ such as flooding or fire which meant it had to move and it affected previous exam results – then they can appeal grades.

Schools and colleges can appeal to the exam board if it believes it made an error when submitting a grade or if it believes an exam board made a mistake.

Pupils can ask their school or college to check whether it made an administrative error when submitting their grade – and they can ask them to submit an appeal to the exam board if it did.

Students will not be able to directly appeal their calculated grades to the exam boards, but they can submit allegations about bias or discrimination.

Ofqual has advised students to complain to their college or school in the first place about potential malpractice. If their concerns are not addressed, pupils can formally complain to the exam board.

Students in England who are unhappy with their grades will also have the opportunity to take A-level exams in October and GCSE exams in November. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘It is vital that students with exceptional circumstances are not held back by the way grades have been calculated – including those who are highly talented in schools that have not in the past had strong results, or where schools have undergone significant changes such as a new leadership team.

‘This appeals process does this. Students will also have the opportunity to take exams this autumn if they are unhappy with their grades.’

Not allowing pupils the right to appeal GCSE or A-Level exam grades they think are unfair had earlier been linked to imposing a ‘life sentence’. 

There are concerns that results day next week could be chaotic as thousands of teenagers may receive ‘unfair’ marks. 

Dr Martin Stephen, the former High Master of St Paul’s Boys’ School told The Daily Telegraph the system was equivalent to ‘imposing a life sentence, with no right of appeal’.

The new guidance comes after outrage in Scotland where the grade moderation process reduced the pass rate of the poorest Higher pupils by more than twice that of the richest. 

The Scottish Qualifications Authority downgraded the students’ marks for the exams that were not sat, changing a massive 93.1 per cent of all the moderated scores.

Chief Examining Officer Fiona Robertson said if the SQA had not stepped in exam pass rates would have risen at every level and would have been the highest on record. 

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Ellen DeGeneres bullied 11-year-old boy by calling him ‘fat’ and ‘stupid’

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ellen degeneres bullied 11 year old boy by calling him fat and stupid

Ellen DeGeneres bullied an 11-year-old boy, calling him ‘fat’ and ‘stupid’; made fun of his clothes and ‘took pleasure’ in his distress, the now grown victim claims.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMailTV, Ben Gravolet said the under fire TV host worked for his mother’s recruitment agency when he was a child, and claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults.

‘I would dread going to [my mom’s] office to see her after school or on a day if I was sick and Ellen was there,’ Gravolet said.

‘She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat. She would criticize my clothes.

‘I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset. 

‘I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. I was a defenseless kid. What could I have told her back?

‘It has an effect if somebody in a superior position to you, who’s much older, goes ”You’re fat. You might want to lose some of that weight chunky boy.” I was always self conscious about my weight and it made things worse.’

Ben Gravolet, 52, told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview that 'vile' Ellen DeGeneres bullied him as an 11-year-old boy, calling him 'fat' and 'stupid'. He claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults

Ben Gravolet, 52, told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview that 'vile' Ellen DeGeneres bullied him as an 11-year-old boy, calling him 'fat' and 'stupid'. He claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults

Ben Gravolet, 52, told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview that ‘vile’ Ellen DeGeneres bullied him as an 11-year-old boy, calling him ‘fat’ and ‘stupid’. He claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults

Gravolet (pictured around 11 years old) said: 'She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she'd call me stupid, she'd call me fat. She would criticize my clothes. I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset'

Gravolet (pictured around 11 years old) said: 'She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she'd call me stupid, she'd call me fat. She would criticize my clothes. I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset'

Gravolet (pictured around 11 years old) said: ‘She would criticize my weight. I would try to do homework in the office, she’d call me stupid, she’d call me fat. She would criticize my clothes. I was just a boy and this was a grown woman who took pleasure in seeing me become visibly upset’

His allegations follow claims from dozens of staff on The Ellen DeGeneres Show who have said that racism, bullying and sexual harassment was rife at the show

His allegations follow claims from dozens of staff on The Ellen DeGeneres Show who have said that racism, bullying and sexual harassment was rife at the show

His allegations follow claims from dozens of staff on The Ellen DeGeneres Show who have said that racism, bullying and sexual harassment was rife at the show

The Belle Chasse, Louisiana-based father-of-three said in the late 1970s Ellen worked as a recruiter in the lakeside New Orleans branch of Snelling Personnel, owned by his mother.

Gravolet, 52, who now works as vice president of a New Orleans marketing agency, said the multi-millionaire comedian ‘was just the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person.’

‘One incident stands out in my mind,’ he told DailyMailTV. ‘I was sitting beside her desk. I was drawing, and she criticized the drawings. She said ”I guess that would look nice if you could draw”.

‘As I watched her meteoric rise to fame, people would say how great she was and all I could think was she must be an incredible actor because she was one of the most vile people I’ve ever met in my life,’ he said. ‘Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?’

Gravolet’s allegations follow claims from dozens of staff on The Ellen DeGeneres Show who have said that racism, bullying and sexual harassment was rife at the Hollywood studio.

The scandal prompted Ellen, 62, to email an apology to her staff – which some have labelled as ‘complete bull’, claiming she was ‘power-hungry’ and part of the ‘toxic’ environment on set.

Gravolet claimed that even aged 20 his mother’s former employee enjoyed wielding power over others.

‘It appears to me that she hoards power over those that are lesser than her. It’s almost as if she has to feel controlling. It seems like she has to be superior, be better.’

Gravolet’s furious mother, Tana Robinson, told DailyMailTV Ellen was ‘extremely rude’ but that she only found out about the alleged bullying of her son a few weeks ago. 

Gravolet, 52, who now works as vice president of a New Orleans marketing agency, said the multi-millionaire comedian 'was just the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person. As I watched her meteoric rise to fame, people would say how great she was and all I could think was she must be an incredible actor because she was one of the most vile people I've ever met in my life,' he said. 'Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?'

Gravolet, 52, who now works as vice president of a New Orleans marketing agency, said the multi-millionaire comedian 'was just the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person. As I watched her meteoric rise to fame, people would say how great she was and all I could think was she must be an incredible actor because she was one of the most vile people I've ever met in my life,' he said. 'Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?'

Gravolet, 52, who now works as vice president of a New Orleans marketing agency, said the multi-millionaire comedian ‘was just the meanest, nastiest, most horrible person. As I watched her meteoric rise to fame, people would say how great she was and all I could think was she must be an incredible actor because she was one of the most vile people I’ve ever met in my life,’ he said. ‘Who takes pleasure in giving a child pain?’

Gravolet said the under fire TV host worked for his mother's recruitment agency when he was a child, and claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults. Pictured: Ellen in 1987 around aged 28

Gravolet said the under fire TV host worked for his mother's recruitment agency when he was a child, and claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults. Pictured: Ellen in 1987 around aged 28

Gravolet said the under fire TV host worked for his mother’s recruitment agency when he was a child, and claimed Ellen – then aged about 20 – would regularly subject him to biting, mean insults. Pictured: Ellen in 1987 around aged 28

The recent scandal prompted Ellen, 62, to email an apology to her staff – which some have labelled as 'complete bull', claiming she was 'power-hungry' and part of the 'toxic' environment on set

The recent scandal prompted Ellen, 62, to email an apology to her staff – which some have labelled as 'complete bull', claiming she was 'power-hungry' and part of the 'toxic' environment on set

The recent scandal prompted Ellen, 62, to email an apology to her staff – which some have labelled as ‘complete bull’, claiming she was ‘power-hungry’ and part of the ‘toxic’ environment on set

‘I think I probably fired her. Had I known that was going on, I’d have punched her and then fired her,’ Robinson, 72, said. ‘A horrible person does that to an 11-year-old boy.

‘I can’t even put myself in the shoes of someone at that age that dislikes children so much or whose ego is so low that she has to smash a child to feel good about herself.

‘A bully is a good word for it. She never tried to bully me because she knew she couldn’t. So she bullied him with me not knowing about it.’

Last month one current and ten former employees of her daytime chat show accused its three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of ‘bullying.’

The executive producers issued a statement saying: ‘We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience.’

Lassner also tweeted: ‘Nobody is going off the air.’

Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer, is alleged to have ‘groomed’ a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him.

Kevin Leman, the show’s head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague.

And Ed Glavin, an executive producer, allegedly ‘had a reputation for being handsy with women,’ according to former employees.

The former staffers told BuzzFeed News they believe Ellen knew that several of her senior showrunners and producers were alleged to have committed sexual misconduct against junior-level employees.

A source close to DeGeneres denied she knew about the allegations of sexual harassment by show producers before they were published last month. 

Ellen DeGeneres and three other executive producers from her daytime talk show were reported to have held a call Monday to 'clear the air' with staffers and discuss the show's future

Ellen DeGeneres and three other executive producers from her daytime talk show were reported to have held a call Monday to 'clear the air' with staffers and discuss the show's future

Ellen DeGeneres and three other executive producers from her daytime talk show were reported to have held a call Monday to ‘clear the air’ with staffers and discuss the show’s future

Last month one current and ten former employees of her daytime chat show accused its three executive producers, Ed Glavin (second from right), Mary Connelly (far right) and Andy Lassner (second from left), of 'bullying.' Jonathan Norman (far left), a co-executive producer, is alleged to have 'groomed' a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him. Kevin Leman (center), the show's head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague. Glavin allegedly 'had a reputation for being handsy with women,' according to former employees

Last month one current and ten former employees of her daytime chat show accused its three executive producers, Ed Glavin (second from right), Mary Connelly (far right) and Andy Lassner (second from left), of 'bullying.' Jonathan Norman (far left), a co-executive producer, is alleged to have 'groomed' a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him. Kevin Leman (center), the show's head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague. Glavin allegedly 'had a reputation for being handsy with women,' according to former employees

Last month one current and ten former employees of her daytime chat show accused its three executive producers, Ed Glavin (second from right), Mary Connelly (far right) and Andy Lassner (second from left), of ‘bullying.’ Jonathan Norman (far left), a co-executive producer, is alleged to have ‘groomed’ a former employee by taking him to concerts and showering him with other gifts and perks before attempting to perform oral sex on him. Kevin Leman (center), the show’s head writer and executive producer, is alleged to have solicited oral sex from an employee. Others say they witnessed Leman grope another colleague. Glavin allegedly ‘had a reputation for being handsy with women,’ according to former employees

Leman and Norman have denied all allegations. Glavin has not addressed the claim publicly but is stepping down from his position, according to Variety.

Ellen responded by sending a memo to her staff, apologizing for the alleged misconduct on her watch, but accusing her colleagues of ‘misrepresenting who I am’.

‘On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen Degeneres Show would be a place of happiness — no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,’ she wrote.

‘Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show.

‘I’m also learning that people who work with me and for me are speaking on my behalf and misrepresenting who I am and that has to stop.

‘As someone who was judged and nearly lost everything for just being who I am, I truly understand and have deep compassion for those being looked at differently, or treated unfairly, not equal, or — worse — disregarded. To think that any one of you felt that way is awful to me.’

After Ellen sent the memo, two former members of staff told the Sun the 62-year-old host’s ‘apology and denial that she knew anything was going on’ regarding misconduct was ‘complete bull’.

The pair told the paper: ‘For over a decade Ellen has treated her staff poorly, which is ironic because of her persona when she is on camera.

‘She is literally like two different people. One is awful, power-hungry and constantly yells at everyone for any little thing that goes wrong with the production of the show.

‘The other character that Ellen plays is what the world sees – a hilarious, kind and giving woman who is a fearless advocate for the LGBTQ community.’

The former workers said the show has a high staff turnover because of the pressure that Ellen applied. But explained the fear of her ‘power’ had prevented complainants from coming forward earlier.

Production sources revealed staff have taken to calling Ellen 'Talk Show Karen'. Ellen was photographed taking a walk with an unidentified friend on Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica

Production sources revealed staff have taken to calling Ellen 'Talk Show Karen'. Ellen was photographed taking a walk with an unidentified friend on Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica

Production sources revealed staff have taken to calling Ellen ‘Talk Show Karen’. Ellen was photographed taking a walk with an unidentified friend on Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica

Stand-up comic and former Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett tweeted Friday: 'Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge'

Stand-up comic and former Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett tweeted Friday: 'Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge'

Stand-up comic and former Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett tweeted Friday: ‘Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge’ 

'Love you for life': Kevin Hart joins the slim line of stars sticking up for embattled talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres in a gushing Instagram post on Tuesday

'Love you for life': Kevin Hart joins the slim line of stars sticking up for embattled talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres in a gushing Instagram post on Tuesday

‘Love you for life’: Kevin Hart joins the slim line of stars sticking up for embattled talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres in a gushing Instagram post on Tuesday

Katy Perry insisted she had 'only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen and on the show' in an impassioned statement

Katy Perry insisted she had 'only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen and on the show' in an impassioned statement

Katy Perry insisted she had ‘only ever had positive takeaways from my time with Ellen and on the show’ in an impassioned statement

One of the sources said: ‘She cannot go on living a lie and treating people this way. Her reputation and disgusting behavior has finally caught up with her.’

The show’s parent company WarnerMedia last week launched an investigation after the employees went public with their grievances.

Warner Bros., the studio that runs the show, has declined to comment on the sexual harassment allegations, citing an ongoing internal investigation.

Celebrities and comedians have joined the outburst of criticism for the chat show star.

The former boss of Today, Australia’s Channel 9 morning show, said when Ellen came to his set for an interview during her 2013 Australia tour, her staff demanded nobody talk or even look at her without permission.

Gravolet (pictured) said Ellen's bullying revelations have made him feel 'vindicated'. 'I don't take pleasure in seeing this happen to her now but at least it makes me feel like I wasn't the problem and I feel vindicated,' he told DailyMailTV.

Gravolet (pictured) said Ellen's bullying revelations have made him feel 'vindicated'. 'I don't take pleasure in seeing this happen to her now but at least it makes me feel like I wasn't the problem and I feel vindicated,' he told DailyMailTV.

Gravolet (pictured) said Ellen’s bullying revelations have made him feel ‘vindicated’. ‘I don’t take pleasure in seeing this happen to her now but at least it makes me feel like I wasn’t the problem and I feel vindicated,’ he told DailyMailTV.

Stand-up comic and former Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett tweeted Friday: ‘Sorry but it comes from the top ⁦@TheEllenShow Know more than one who were treated horribly by her.⁩ Common knowledge.’

Actress and director Lea Thompson also tweeted ‘True story, it is.’

Podcaster Kevin T. Porter claimed on Twitter that Ellen is ‘notoriously one of the meanest people alive’ and offered to donate $2 to Los Angeles food banks for every person who replied to his tweet with a story about her alleged rude behavior.

But music manager Scooter Braun came to Ellen’s defense, tweeting ‘@TheEllenShow is a kind, thoughtful, courageous human being who stands for what is right and highlights on her show the best of us.’

Others including singer Katy Perry and comedians Jay Leno and Kevin Hart have also tweeted glowing reviews of their ‘friend’. 

Still, Gravolet said Ellen’s bullying revelations have made him feel ‘vindicated’.

‘I don’t take pleasure in seeing this happen to her now but at least it makes me feel like I wasn’t the problem and I feel vindicated,’ he told DailyMailTV.

‘If she did that to me 40 years ago, leopards don’t change their spots.

‘I feel for her as a person with all this going on. But at some point you’ve gotta stop. You’ve got to go get enough help to find out why you take pleasure in someone else’s pain.’

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Fears over UK ammonium nitrate storage after Beirut explosion

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fears over uk ammonium nitrate storage after beirut

Explosives and safety experts say a Beirut-style mega-blast could not happen in the UK – because of strict production and storage rules on the substance linked to the tragedy.

The Health and Safety Executive said the control of Ammonium Nitrate was tightly regulated, while chemical explosive experts said it was produced to a standard that made it difficult to blow up.

The majority of it has less than 28 per cent nitrogen, a directive introduced after the IRA had used it to make explosives in the Seventies.

There are at least three Ammonium Nitrate producing plants in the county, which make it to supply the farming industry its fertiliser.

A total of 134 sites are on HSE books after declaring they are each storing more than 1,250 tons of the substance. 

The destroyed port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon,

The destroyed port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon,

The destroyed port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon,

Three plants in the UK make and distribute Ammonium Nitrate but half of UK's is imported in

Three plants in the UK make and distribute Ammonium Nitrate but half of UK's is imported in

Three plants in the UK make and distribute Ammonium Nitrate but half of UK’s is imported in

The crystalline material has been blamed for the explosion that ripped through Beirut, killing at least 135 people. 

Professor Jackie Akhavan, a specialist in explosive chemistry and the Head of the Centre for Defence Chemistry at Cranfield University.

She said regulations in the UK meant it could not suffer a similar disaster to Beirut. 

Prof Akhavan told MailOnline: ‘Ammonium Nitrate is fertiliser in this country and because the IRA used to use it is subject to very strict regulations.

‘It can only be transported and stored in one metre bales, which means a detonation cannot happen.

‘When it is brought into this country they do put it in large piles – but only for one day. We never stockpile Ammonium Nitrate.

‘The with it in Beirut was it was stored and it has been there for sometime. They should have moved it into smaller quantities.

‘The mistake was they shouldn’t have stored it for such a long time in those silos, combined with whatever was the cause of the fire – it was was obviously not highly insulated.

Ammonium Nitrate is made in Britain by firms including Cheshire-based CF Fertilisers

Ammonium Nitrate is made in Britain by firms including Cheshire-based CF Fertilisers

Ammonium Nitrate is made in Britain by firms including Cheshire-based CF Fertilisers

‘The reason it went was the fire – it wouldn’t have gone otherwise.’

Her thoughts were echoed by Dr Katherine Haxton, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Keele University, who researches public attitudes towards chemicals.

Dt Haxton said: ‘Tragic events like the explosion in Beiruit focus our attention on chemicals like ammonium nitrate which is explosive but it is also used and stored safely all around the world every day.

‘It’s natural to feel a bit alarmed by this event. In the UK there are tight guidelines from the Health and Safety Executive on how much ammonium nitrate can be stored and how it must be stored.

‘It’s really important to keep it away from fire, other chemicals, and things that can burn. Really large quantities need to be kept in specially designed facilities.’

Leading forensic explosives engineer Adrian Wilkinson said the UK needed Ammonium Nitrates, but its content was carefully controlled.

31562082 8599993 image a 58 1596719221505

31562082 8599993 image a 58 1596719221505

He told the MailOnline: ‘There is legislation here that restricts the amount of nitrogen in it and that’s because less than 28 per cent makes it difficult to make into an explosive.

‘As soon as people see explosions they get very worried. We don’t have these massive stores of Ammonium Nitrate.

‘If this stuff didn’t exist we would live a much poorer life. This stuff is being used by the hundreds of thousand of tonnes in the UK for fertiliser.

‘The ammonium nitrate fuel oil is used by the quarry industry for explosives. They use instead of military explosive – it crates a less shattering effect. The regulations here are good.’

Over half of the Ammonium Nitrate used in this country is imported in.  

Britain has at least three plants that make it, two of which are run by Cheshire-based firm CF Fertilisers.

Ammonium Nitrate: The rules in Britain

Under the provisions of the Dangerous Substances (Notification and Marking of Sites) Regulations 1990 (NAMOS) anyone storing quantities of Ammonium Nitrate must notify the relevant regulatory authorities and the emergency services

For over 25 tonnes or more HSE or the Local Authority, and the Fire and Rescue Service must be notified

For storage of 150 tonnes or more of Ammonium Nitrate or the storage of certain Ammonium Nitrate mixtures an additional notification to their local fire service is required to allow emergency services to prepare their response to incidents on such sites.

Local Authorities also have to give permission, known as Hazardous Substance Consent to anyone intending to store in excess of 1250 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate.

When an application is made HSE advises the Local Authority on whether a site is suitable to be granted HSC taking into account risks to local people.

The storage of larger quantities of Ammonium Nitrate is subject to the provisions of the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 2015 (COMAH).

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Their facilities are situated in Ince, Cheshire, and Billingham, Cleveland, and make the chemical for the farming industry.

Company details say they make more than 1.5million tons every year, which makes up 40 per cent of fertiliser needs in the UK.

Derbyshire-based Plater Group also make the crystal salt in its Glossop chemical plant.

It says it offers the product in 25kg and bulk bags for the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Ammonium nitrate is classed as an explosive under the UN classification system, which means it is subject to strict controls under the Explosives Act 1875.

It is not combustible on its own but can explode under heat or severe shock.

Health and Safety Executive guidance says that fertilisers with less than 28 per cent nitrogen do not present a danger.

Those with more than that amount in the UK have to be packaged in a specific way and subject to quality control regulations.

The HSE says the chemical should be stored in single storey and well-ventilated specially-dedicated buildings made from material does not burn – like bricks or steel.

If it is being made near to populated areas it can be stored outside, but away from other combustible materials.

The outdoor element also reduces any risk from fire from lights or any other electrical equipment.

Makers are also told to limit any stacks of Ammonium Nitrate to a maximum of 300 tons, with low density types to be kept below two metres high.

There should also be space of at least a metre between it and the walls, or any pipes or lights.

The rules also state that it should not be stored anywhere near any flammable liquids or powdered metals or acids.

A HSE spokesperson said: ‘While our thoughts are with people in Beirut, especially those who have lost loved ones, operators in Britain are subject to some of the most stringent controls in the world.

‘The storage of Ammonium Nitrate in Great Britain is subject to a robust regulatory framework, which considers the hazards posed by storage, product safety and measures to deal with emergencies.

‘As with all industrial disasters around the world, we will take on board any significant findings from the investigation as and when they emerge.’

Jo Gilbertson, the Agricultural Industries Confederation‘s Head of Sector for Fertilisers, said storage and testing in the UK meant it was safe.

He told MailOnline: ‘Ammonium Nitrate is only a problem is it is mixed with other chemicals it is incompatible with. It is not dangerous on its own, just when mixed with other things.

‘It is tested to make sure it is stable and it’s stored in a way that it can’t mix with anything that would make it dangerous.

‘The law under EU regulations adopted in the UK require that every batch can’t even be put on the market until it’s been tested.

‘It goes to another organisation and tested very thoroughly, including with an explosive charge to check it can’t be blown up.’

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