Film ID:
NEFA 8499



Visitor Tabs


A short ICI Billingham Film Unit documentary that discusses how recent improvements to ICI plant machinery and chemical processes have helped to dramatically decrease pollution.

The film opens with close-ups of birds chirping on fences, branches, and chimney tops. Commentary: "Gone are the days of dust, grit, and smog". Title appears over landscape view of the ICI facility at Billingham, with corn swaying in the breeze in the foreground.

Title: Something to Sing About

Sweeping away from this half-rural, half-industrial scene, the camera pans toward a view of houses standing beneath the chimneys at one of the world’s biggest chemical complexes at Haverton Hill. Plumes of steam and smoke dominate the upper half of the frame. Views of buildings in the area that are discoloured and corroded. Children play in the street with bows and arrows.

There is a close-up of dust-covered brickwork on a residential property.

Cars, including a Morris Minor, a Volkswagen camper van, a Wall’s Ice Cream van, speed past along a dual carriageway. Nearby, thick smog dominates the landscape.

Landscape views over Teesside, with chimney stacks and industrial plant equipment high on the horizon. A cooling tower is totally obscured by smoke and steam rising from another chimney just in front of it. Coal dust free-falls into a steel hopper; fine dust particles cloud the air. Further views of smoky chimney tops contrast with views of new and emission free chimneys.

Title (over image): £1,000,000

There is a low angle shot of the partially demolished Nitro chalk plant. Traffic passes by the Cement Works on Haverton Hill Road followed by scenes of dereliction inside the plant where coal was formerly used.

Views of steel framework, corrugated iron buildings and stairways caked in thick sediment. Heaps of anhydrite rock are left in derelict warehouses. A man in blue overalls and a hard hat operates a kiln at the Sulphuric Acid Plant. Shot of furnace interior. A Volkswagen Beetle is parked outside one of the new replacement Sulphuric Acid plants alongside Haverton Hill Road.

Title (over image): £300,000

Shots of new steel tubing emanating from silos and warehouses.

From a view of the Nitram Plant, also on Haverton Hill Road, the camera zooms in on the blue and white coloured panels at the top of one of the tall silos. The Nitram Plant is then viewed from the west side, where ‘ICI’ is painted in giant letters at the top of the factory.

Title (over image): £500,000

Traffic, including a red double-decker bus, passes down a hill towards a roundabout. a Nitric Acid Plant in the background.

Title (over image): £250,000

General exterior views of the plant follow where cleaned emissions are almost invisible. View of one of the old nitric acid plants, running without emission cleaning “scrubbers”. Thick orange polluting gas streams out of one of the chimneys. A contrasting shot that follows shows how clean the new equipment is. The Urea Plant is shown operating similarly.

Title (over image): £170,000

The view fades to a night scene of the Billingham Ammonia Plant, where a natural gas fired flare burns off excess ammonia.

Title (over image): SULPHUR DIOXIDE 43000 tons per year

This title statistic shrinks in increments of 250, as views of Billingham industrial scenery scroll behind.

Title (over image):- SULPHUR DIOXIDE 97% reduction

Title (over scene of coal dust blackened houses as children play in the gardens):- GRIT AND DUST 7200 tons per year

Animated title shows a 98% reduction.

Again, a view of the Nitram Plant, with green grass in the foreground.

Title (over image): £3,000,000

Commentary: “ICI cares about the environment”.

Credit: Produced by Agricultural Division Film Unit

Credit: Film Editor: Howard Lanning

Credit: Photography: Roger Thomas

Credit: Director Gerald Fisher

Credit: ICI Agricultural Division Billingham Teesside