The Coventry Homefire plant in Keresley produced a smokeless fuel between 1965 and 2000. The production process was not smokeless however, with workers at the plant being exposed to dust and fume every day. To date, former workers and the families of deceased Homefire plant workers have successfully claimed over £550,000.00 in compensation. If you or a deceased family member worked at the Homefire plant, you may also be able to claim for:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • Chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD);
  • Emphysema;
  • Chronic bronchitis;
  • Asthma; and
  • Skin cancer.

The process at the Homefire plant was similar to that carried out at British Coal’s Phurnacite plant in South Wales. The Phurnacite plant produced briquettes which were carbonised in ovens to produce a smokeless fuel. Specialist solicitors at Hugh James represented hundreds of ex Phurnacite workers and their families in the landmark Phurnacite litigation, in which the judge found that exposure to emissions at Phurnacite can cause respiratory disease and certain types of cancer. Most recently, Hugh James is representing the claims of coke oven workers and their families alleging that similar diseases were caused by exposure to coke oven emissions during the carbonisation of coal at British Coal coking plants across the UK.

Following the outcome of the Phurnacite and coke oven cases, former Homefire plant workers and their families may now be able to claim compensation for the same conditions against the same defendants. Employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace. If better ventilation and protective equipment had been provided, this may have prevented high levels of exposure to dust and fume at the Homefire plant.

The defendants have made a number of admissions in the litigation. In many ways, these admissions mirror the findings of the judge in the Phurnacite litigation.

Our specialist industrial disease solicitors represent victims and their families from all over the UK. We have over 10 years of experience in investigating respiratory disease and cancer claims relating to exposure to dust and fume at British Coal briquetting and carbonisation plants.

We have been contacted by over 100 former Homefire plant workers and their families. It is quick and easy to find out whether you may also be able to bring a claim. Simply call or complete our online enquiry form and you will be put in touch with our specialist solicitors. We offer advice and guidance while we investigate your claim without obligation to proceed. We hold drop in sessions at venues in the Keresley and Bedworth area and can arrange home visits.

We offer:

  • No win, no fee agreements;
  • An initial no obligation telephone consultation to discuss your case; and
  • Consultations via phone, at our local “drop in” sessions or at home.

We are here to help. If you have any questions whatsoever, please get in touch.

Key contact

James has more than 9 years of experience in pursuing industrial disease claims and is a Partner in a department of over 50 lawyers. James has built expertise in industrial injury claims including cancer, respiratory disease and hearing loss and specialises in complex, high profile group actions. James has successfully settled hundreds of personal injury claims and recovered millions of pounds in compensation for clients.

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Recent settlements

  • Mr John Lawlor was employed at the Homefire plant as an electrician between 1988 and 2000. Mr Lawlor subsequently developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sometimes known as emphysema. Mr Lawlor received £31,000.00 in compensation.

  • Mr C was employed at the Homefire plant between 1979 and 2000 and worked as a general labourer, in the bagging plant and in the press hall. Mr C suffered with chronic bronchitis during his employment at the plant and settled his claim for £20,000.

  • Mr Edward Fairless was employed at the Homefire plant between 1977 and 1986 as a CIA maintenance fitter, section foreman, shift engineering foreman, and chief foreman engineering services. Mr Fairless’s son brought a claim against the defendant. It was alleged that Mr Fairless was negligently exposed to dust and fume during his employment. Following successful negotiations, the claim settled for £17,500. The compensation included an award for Mr Fairless’s pain and suffering and financial losses.

  • Mr Godfrey was employed at the Homeifre plant between 1965 and 1973 as a Shift Fitter, Boiler Fitter and Foreman Fitter. Mr Godfrey subsequently developed obstructive lung disease, sometimes known as COPD, as a result of his employment. Mr Godfrey received £10,000 in compensation.

  • Mr Richardson was employed at the Homefire Plant between 1977 and 1985 as a Press Operator in the Press Hall. Mr Richardson was an ex-smoker but the defendants made an offer of compensation on the basis that Mr Richardson’s exposure at the plant contributed to him suffering from chronic bronchitis. The claim settled for £7,500.

  • Mr W was employed at the Homefire Plant between 1969 and 1990 as a Press Hall Worker; Conveyor Attendant; Drum Filter Operator; and Effluent Plant Attendant. Mr W suffered from chronic bronchitis during his employment at the plant.  Mr W subsequently developed mild obstructive lung disease, sometimes known as COPD, as a result of his employment. Mr W received £12,650 in compensation.

  • Mr Armstrong was employed at the Homefire Plant between 1975 and 1990 as a Press Hall Worker; Effluent Plant Attendant; Reject Effluent Plant Attendant; and Drum Filter Operator. Mr Armstrong suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sometimes known as COPD, and Emphysema as a result of his employment. Mr Armstrong received £20,200 in compensation.

  • Mr C was employed at the Homefire Plant between 1969 and 1977 as an Apprentice Fitter and Fitter. Mr C suffered from chronic bronchitis during his employment at the plant and subsequently developed a Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) of the skin of one of his fingers.  Mr C received £21,400 in compensation.


My parents cannot speak highly enough of Mr Davies. He was polite, understanding, helpful and extremely patient when talking to my father via my mother. He explained everything in a easy and understanding manner and gave regular updates when necessary. He was honest and straightforward and managed my father’s expectations throughout his claim. My parents are forever grateful to Mr Davies for his help and assistance would like to thank both yourselves and Mr Davies for all your hard work in representing my father and fighting for his successful claim.

Gerry Armstrong


I was very happy with the service I have had from Hugh James. Always polite and kept me fully updated with my case.

Mr C


I am very pleased with the way my claim has been handled. Hugh James provided first class information on my claim and kept me updated with the progress.

Mr P.H. Walker


I am very pleased you have seen to my late father’s claim. I thank you very much.

Mrs N C


Friendly and professional, would highly recommend.

Mrs S


From start to finish Hugh James has been upfront about costs and they kept me informed of the progress all the way through. Above all every member of staff I have spoken to from the first day to the last, have been courteous, well-mannered, informative and patient. Everybody involved with my case is a credit to Hugh James. Thank you everyone!

Robin Richardson


5* review from Trustpilot I had to deal with losing my beloved dad and try and keep his claim going that he had started years before his death and in the beginning I found it too much too deal with and was going to stop the claim, then I was given Bailey Davies to take on my claim and what a difference he made. Even though he was professional at all times he was also there for me at my lowest. I felt so much support from him through the whole process and also felt his encouragement to keep going, even though at times I didn't think I could. Bailey Davies I can't thanks you enough for your support you gave.

Julia Pritchard


5* Trustpilot review. My names is Mal Jones and after having dealings with Hugh James regarding 'British Coal Coke Oven Worker Litigation Claim' I could not be happier with the service I received. May I also take point to especially mention 'Colin Powney' who was exceptional in his handling of my claim. He walked me through each process and explained in great detail every aspect of the claim. May I take this opportunity to personally thank Colin for all the hard work over the long 2 year journey leading to my successful claim.

Adrian Jones

Your questions answered

Can I make a Homefire compensation claim?


If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer or a respiratory illness such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma or lung cancer, then you should contact our specialist solicitors to find out whether you’re eligible for compensation. We will ask you some questions about your working history at the Homefire plant and your illness so that we can make further investigations and advise you on the likelihood of your claim succeeding. We will advise you in detail about the next steps before you agree to instruct us.

You can still bring a claim if you are a smoker or an ex-smoker, provided that you can prove that you have also been exposed to dust and fume at the Homefire plant.

If you decide to instruct us, we will act on a no win, no fee basis which will be fully explained to you beforehand.

Can claims be brought on behalf of deceased Homefire plant workers?



We will discuss with you whether you are the correct person to bring the claim on behalf of the deceased worker’s estate. We will then obtain available evidence of the deceased’s employment and medical history, such as Homefire works records and GP and hospital records, and advise you whether we think the claim is likely to succeed. If you decide to instruct us, we will act on a no win, no fee basis which will be fully explained to you beforehand.

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