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Residents in Witchford Livid at Alleged Asbestos Fire

By National Operations Co-Ordinator

Residents in Witchford, East Cambridgeshire were rightly “livid” when materials suspected to contain asbestos were burned near their homes.

Asbestos Specialists

Work began recently to turn a site of overgrown land into horse stables on Marroway Lane, Witchford. On Thursday 18 February workmen cleared vegetation from the site, burning brambles and trees, but nearly a week later on Wednesday 24 February, residents alerted environmental health officers that the fire was still lit, alleging asbestos sheets were amongst the burning waste.

Owner of the land, Paul Robinson, told Ely News: "We're as worried as the residents are. We certainly weren't aware there were building materials on the land, let alone possible asbestos, else we would have never lit the fire.

"The materials are now being tested to find out whether they do have any asbestos.

"I think the materials have been fly-tipped as there has never been any buildings on that land, which has been in my family for years, and I've certainly not dumped them there."

Incorrect Disposal of Asbestos

Fly tipping is illegal, but when it comes to fly tipping asbestos the consequences are considerably more severe. Exposure to asbestos is a devastating health risk, potentially causing lung diseases and cancer such as mesothelioma. The incorrect disposal of asbestos is not only an offence, but is highly dangerous. It should only be carried out by specialists using protective clothing and safety measures ensuring the risk of exposure to the public is minimised.

It is absolutely essential that any removal and disposal of asbestos is undertaken within the approved manner. Despite asbestos being fire retardant, asbestos fibres can still be released into the air. If asbestos sheets were amongst the rubble being burnt at Witchford, then unfortunately innocent community member may have been inadvertently inhaling these fibres. Anyone who believes that they have been exposed to asbestos fibres should register this exposure as soon as possible.

Register Your Exposure to Asbestos Today

If you are exposed to asbestos you may not think that you have been affected. The symptoms of breathing difficulties and chest pains are diagnosed by doctors as an asbestos-related disease several decades after the initial exposure. Because of this, in the event you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease and wish to bring a compensation claim, it can be difficult to trace back so many years to when the exposure took place. That is why it is important that you register any exposure to asbestos today.

Dominic Smith is national operations co-ordinator at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

The Slater and Gordon chest and asbestos disease team have worked with many sufferers and families affected by mesothelioma. For a free consultation call freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

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