Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Decision due over asbestos site

Site of proposed housing development on Derby Road
The site was used to make cement products containing asbestos

Campaigners in Cheshire have urged councillors to turn down plans for 123 new homes in Widnes over fears of disturbing dormant asbestos.

Residents have joined together to oppose the redevelopment of land in Derby Road, the site of the former Turners Asbestos Cement works.

Halton Borough Council's planning committee is to make a decision later.

The council said developers were required to make a full assessment of the safety of remediation work.

Residents' concerns

"The company was required to produce a full, detailed site investigation, risk assessment and a strategy for the safe remediation and development of the site," a Halton Borough Council spokeswoman said.

"A key aspect of the remediation strategy is how it will safely deal with the identified asbestos contamination.

"These were provided and have been subject of a long period of scrutiny and revision by the council and its independent environmental advisors."

The council said it understood residents' concerns about the plans submitted by developer Marley Eternit Ltd and stressed that planning permission would only be granted if "stringent conditions" were met.

The works manufactured a wide range of cement products containing asbestos from 1916 until 1999.

Disturbing the land

The council said as much of the operations on site pre-dated most environmental restrictions and controls there was a high risk of contamination that could have an adverse impact on the proposed developments, particularly the residential element.

All the asbestos identified on the residential development site is chrysotile or white asbestos associated with cement, either as a waste-slurry or as broken asbestos cement product.

Campaigners claim that disturbing the land would lead to dormant asbestos being distributed into the surrounding air.

Eternit, which owns the land along with the council, stressed in a statement that it had been fully compliant with health, safety and environmental law.



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