Workers from the Shiu Wing steel mill in Tuen Mun say the government is putting lives at risk by allowing construction of the world's biggest fuel depot to go ahead 50 metres away from the plant's smelter. The workers say an explosion at the depot would be three times bigger than the one that rocked the Buncefield fuel depot in Hertfordshire, England in December. The terminal, which stored 16 million litres of fuel, burned for three days in what was called the biggest fire in Britain since the second world war. The Tuen Mun depot will hold more than 26 times as much fuel. 'Building the world's largest aviation fuel depot right next to a high-temperature mill is a time bomb,' said Daniel Ho Ping-ki, spokesman of the group. The plant sends up open flames as hot as 1,100 degrees Celsius. The Airport Authority depot will hold 420,000 cubic metres of fuel when it opens in 2008. A spokeswoman yesterday said it had received all necessary approvals. 'We had meetings with district councillors, and carried out environmental impact and safety assessments to make sure that we will meet local and international standards,' she said. But the workers' group, which calls itself the Shui Wing Employees of Anti-Aviation Fuel Tanks in Tuen Mun Area 38, claims the authority did not carry out a quantitative risk assessment as required by the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance. More than 30 members of the group yesterday took part in a 24-hour silent protest outside the Legislative Council to lobby for public support. A full-page advertisement against the project also appears in today's South China Morning Post. On June 12, the Court of Final Appeal is set to hear their case that the authority did not follow the ordinance. At a judicial review in 2003 and in the Court of Appeal in 2004, the judges ruled the quantitative risk assessment in the ordinance was not compulsory. 'Many of us have been working in the mill for 10 or 20 years and it is hard for us to change job just to get away from the depot. We just want to protect our life,' said Mr Ho, adding that many people lived not far from the mill. Chan Wan-sang, a Tuen Mun district councillor, said resistance to the depot reflected only part of a larger town-planning problem. 'Tuen Mun is a dumping ground for everything that the other districts do not want,' Mr Chan said. 'It has a few refugee centres, two power stations, two landfill sites, a crematorium and so on. In terms of quality of life, it is very unfair to the residents there.'