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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 17:34 GMT
Toxicology advice on 'waste tip' school
Landfill site
Research has shown health risks from landfill sites
A south Wales council has given in to pressure to seek independent advice on plans to build a new school on the site of a former waste tip.

Children's Commissioner for Wales Peter Clarke called on Newport Council to consider the potential health risks of placing pupils from Durham Road Primary School on waste ground.
Children┐s Commissioner Peter Clarke
Children's Commissioner Peter Clarke

Similar objections were raised over plans in north Wales to move Ysgol John Bright school near Llandudno to a former waste dump nearby.

Mr Clarke's intervention last month was considered controversial but her repeated his request to Newport councillors on Tuesday saying he stood by his decision to raise the issue.

Back in October, he urged councillors to consider the possible long-term health risks of developing former landfill sites.

Announcing that Newport would be employing an independent toxicologist, council leader Sir Harry Jones said the well-being of the county's school children was "a matter of paramount concern".

The Glebelands site is earmarked for the school

Even so, parents and residents opposed to the site remain unconvinced and still want the project abandoned on health grounds.

Mr Clarke's intervention follows government research which found a slighter higher risk of birth defects in children living within 2km of landfill sites.

Outline permission

The plan in north Wales is to move the existing Ysgol John Bright school near Llandudno, in order to sell the site to a supermarket chain as part of a private finance initiative.

Conwy County Council wants to erect the new school buildings nearby, partly on a former waste dump.

The plans for Durham Road School on the Glebelands playing fields in Newport are less advanced, with only outline planning permission granted.

Children's rights group Rebecca - Children's Right to a Safe Environment - called on the Welsh Assembly to scrap the plan.

It claimed a full risk assessment was not carried out on the proposals.

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Scotland
New waste law sparks concern
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