Large traces of asbestos fibres have been found on the site of a pending McDonald’s fast food restaurant in Tonbridge, Kent.
The intended development area on Cannon Lane will potentially see the current warehouses demolished to make room for a 24-hour McDonald’s drive-thru restaurant. The plans have reportedly been met with a variety of complaints concerning noise and anti-social behaviour, but documents submitted to the council earlier in 2015 have revealed a much greater problem with two environmental studies confirming asbestos on the site that could pose a dangerous health risk.
The geo-environmental study, completed on behalf of the developers by consultants, Jomas Associates, stated: "The risk estimation matrix indicates a generally moderate risk, with a high risk relating to the potential presence of asbestos containing materials within the existing building fabric.
"Any potential asbestos containing materials should be assessed, with identified materials removed by suitably qualified personnel.
"Based on available information it is concluded there are potential contaminant linkages associated with the site, which require further investigation."
To some, this may appear as an isolated incident, however, the discovery of asbestos in landfill and demolition sites is much more common that you might think. In September 2015, the building site for £7.8 million St Luke’s hospital on Leicester Road in Harborough was found to contain asbestos in the remains of a previously demolished building.
Asbestos kills approximately 5,000 workers each year in the UK. Around 20 tradesmen die each week due to past exposure. Since the 1950s, there were over 3,500 different products containing asbestos being manufactured until its ban in 1999. From floor tiles to insulation, asbestos was used in commercial buildings and houses. If a building was built pre-1999 there is a chance that it contains asbestos. If asbestos is disturbed, exposure to the dust can be fatal, with the effects of asbestos difficult for doctors to detect for a minimum of 10 years following exposure. Because of this, specialist disposal of asbestos is required by regulated professionals.
As McDonald’s are seemingly still intending to go ahead with plans to build on the contaminated site in Tonbridge, the next step will involve the safe management and removal of the asbestos that ensures workers and the public are not exposed.
Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyers can pursue compensation claims for people that have been exposed to asbestos at work and in public places. Just as important, any person who believes that they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fibres should register this exposure as soon as possible. Although all asbestos can be dangerous, exposure to it does not necessarily mean that you will develop an asbestos related condition.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos call the expert personal injury solicitors at Slater and Gordon on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.