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Forgemasters urge flood action as operations near full production

18 July 2007

Sheffield Forgemasters is nearing full production three weeks after a six-foot torrent of water swept through the vast 64 acre Brightside Lane site, shutting the entire operation down.

And although orders are being shipped out, machines are being brought back online and site repairs are well ahead of schedule, management at the 200-year-old company have urged government to address the causes of the Lower Don Valley disaster.

The call came as Forgemasters started creating new moulds for pouring its famous complex castings and the first of the machines in the quarter-mile long machine shop were brought back into production, underlining the company's determination to see no repeat of the June 25 events.

Peter Birtles, Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "We are keen to see that the government carries out studies of these unprecedented events to understand the causes and put in place remedial steps to avoid a future recurrence.

"It is now vital that resources and an appropriate structure are established to ensure that essential work is carried out throughout the Don Valley and Brightside to prevent this ever happening again. Forgemasters will not be satisfied until we see this happening."

The company is keen to thank customers and trading partners for offers of help since the catastrophic floods, including electricians from Rolls Royce, who are currently working alongside Forgemasters' own team to assist in repairs to heavy machine tools.

Roll and bar finishing and finishing work in the Brightside Lane foundry began at within just seven days of the tragedy and forging, melting and pattern making operations were back in production within two weeks,

Peter added: "Almost all manufacturing operations are back to full production. All our employees are fully employed, as they have been throughout the disaster, and supplies are flowing to customers again.

"Work to replace perimeter walls is almost complete and all security facilities are now back in operation. Much still needs to be done with repairs to superficial features such as car park surfacing etc but these will all be restored in due course.

The heavy machine shop is where most work and repair costs are still ongoing and it may be several weeks before all the large finishing machines are back in operation due to damage to electronic control equipment.

"We are receiving very good support from our insurers and are grateful for the support and encouragement we have received from leading figures in the city, local MPs, government ministers and His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales - but we are determined to see no repeat of the June 25 flood," added Peter.