Member News - Iraqi Delegation visits Contract Chemicals

Iraq is now a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and 10 Iraqi delegates visited Contract Chemicals at Knowsley today as part of their training to carry out inspections of chemical facilities.

Contract Chemicals, in conjunction with UK National Authority (part of DECC), MOD and American officials set up a mock challenge inspection which simulated how inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would carry out an actual inspection.  An inspector from OPCW advised on the procedures.

Many chemical companies are required to make declarations on their products, processes and plant under the Chemical Weapons Convention and are subject to inspections to verify that activities are consistent with the information provided in declarations.

Steve Ockleshaw, Contract’s Health, Safety and Environment Manager led the company part of the inspection and he commented, “the delegation clearly seemed to benefit from inspecting a real, live chemical plant.  It was also a learning experience for our employees”.


Chemical Weapons Convention

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (the 'CWC', or the 'Convention') aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons by States Parties.

A unique feature of the CWC is its incorporation of the 'challenge inspection', whereby any State Party in doubt about another State Party's compliance can request the Director-General to send an inspection team. Under the CWC's 'challenge inspection' procedure, States Parties have committed themselves to the principle of 'any time, anywhere' inspections with no right of refusal.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC or Convention). The OPCW is given the mandate to achieve the object and purpose of the Convention, to ensure the implementation of its provisions, including those for international verification of compliance with it, and to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation among States Parties.

The OPCW Member States already represent about 98% of the global population and landmass, as well as 98% of the worldwide chemical industry. A state becomes a State Party, and thereby a member of the Organisation, by one of three means — ratification, accession or succession. Instruments of ratification, accession or succession must be deposited with the designated Depositary of the Convention, who is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

UK (Chemical Weapons Convention) National Authority

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force on 29 April 1997, and is the first arms-control treaty that works to introduce a verifiable ban on an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. It is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is based in The Hague.

DECC, as the UK CWC National Authority, is responsible for implementing the CWC throughout the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories. Our powers to do this are contained in the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.

Under the CWC, a state party must submit detailed declarations on particular activities involving certain chemicals, and these declarations are subject to verification by OPCW inspectors. The UK’s export and import licensing procedures control the trade in those chemicals covered by the CWC.

The Chemical Weapons Act requires the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to prepare a report on its operation in each calendar year, and to present a copy to each House of Parliament.

Contract Chemicals Ltd.

CCL is a fine chemical company based at Knowsley, Merseyside which produces intermediates for the pharmaceutical, agrochemical and personal care industries.  It does not produce chemical weapons.  The Group Managing Director, Dr Tony Bastock OBE is Chair of the UK National Authority Advisory Committee on Chemical Weapons.