Halton Council are reviewing plans for 116 houses to be built on the asbestos-contaminated site of the former Turners Asbestos Cement works in Widnes.
A report on Bellway Homes Ltd.’s plans for the development revealed the homes could potentially be erected on parts of the site, which was used to produce asbestos materials from 1916 to 1999.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the report stated: "The proposals are aimed at disposing of land now surplus to the company's requirements enabling them to fund the reclamation of the contaminated sites following closure of the production facility.
"The site is contaminated. The costs associated with doing so are prohibitive and it is considered that only a land use with a high value, such as residential would now be viable on the application site.
"The applicant has included details of the phasing of activities on site in terms of site clearance, handling of clean and contaminated material, crushing of concrete, excavation and deposition of clean and contaminated materials and the creation of the correct levels for the proposed development.”
Disposing of Asbestos Materials
Halton Council’s contaminated land officers are reportedly “broadly in agreement” with the plans for clearing the site, which may involve disposing of any asbestos materials by burying it deep underground or covering trace levels of asbestos with a geotextile layer beneath a metre of soil.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for asbestos to be disposed of via landfill. In 2015, residents in the village of Ley Hill were concerned over plans to fill a disused quarry with an ‘approved range’ of waste materials, including asbestos. Read more on this here.
It is also not uncommon for development plans to be affected by the discovery of asbestos. October 2015 saw an application for plans to build a caravan and camping site on the former grounds of an asbestos factory in Calderdale denied.
Previously 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. A survey of the former Turners Asbestos Cement works in Widnes has revealed asbestos is indeed on the site. As the development in question involved homes, it is anticipated that if the decision is made for the building to continue, that the management, removal and disposal of the asbestos is done so in a manner that keeps the public and potential residents out of harm’s way, but also is not merely a temporary solution to a problem later as in the case of the village in Ley Hill.
A decision will be made on the housing development in Widnes on Monday 7 March.
Register Your Exposure to Asbestos Today
In the event that you are exposed to asbestos it is important that you register this exposure as soon as possible. This way, in the unfortunate event you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, a trace to the time, place and circumstances can be established in pursuing a future claim.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos call the expert asbestos solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.