Council accused of failing to remove fly-tipped asbestos for three months

Pictures: MEN

An asbestos expert has accused council officers of failing to remove two tons of fly-tipped waste which included the dangerous material, the Manchester Evening News has reported.  Sean Small first reported the illegal dumping to Bury Council three months ago, but says it was still there last week.

The council says it did investigate and removed some asbestos, but claims more fly tipping must have taken place since.

Mr Small discovered the waste on the site of the old Cussons soap works in Kersal Vale on the Bury and Salford border. There was so much waste some had spilled onto a public footpath.

Mr Small said:

“I work as a qualified asbestos consultant for a national environmental consultancy. Three months ago I noticed a large amount of highly dangerous asbestos insulating board (AIB) and other asbestos containing materials had been fly tipped on Kersal Vale.

The material has been dumped at the entrance to a disused industrial site, but a large amount of the material is on the pavement. This stretch of road is busy for pedestrians and road traffic alike.

Knowing the dangers of  asbestos I took it upon myself to contact the environmental team at Bury Council directly, so I was shocked to see that a few days later on the material was still in situ and had not been dealt with.  I cannot stress enough how if disturbed, say for example by children, this material has the potential to damage health.”

I understand that if the land is private the council will not be able to take any action but as it is spilling onto a public road I thought I would bring it to their attention.  I would estimate there was about two tons of waste.

I was astonished when the person I spoke to at the council asked if two men and a transit van would be enough to shift the waste. It needs to be removed by a professional firm, with staff protected by overalls and face masks. The council staff member had no idea of the ramifications of asbestos waste.”

A spokesman for Bury Council said:

“We visited this site in October following the complaint and any materials containing asbestos were removed. Any material left on/near the highway did not contain asbestos, despite appearances, which was confirmed by a lab analysis that we carried out.

It would appear that further fly-tipping has been carried out on this site since then, and we are contacting the landowner to ensure that it is removed.”

But Sean added:

“In my professional opinion when I check on Tuesday the same materials I had seen in October were there. The whole site should have been cleared by the council, once asbestos is seen to be present you can’t pick and choose what you remove. It needed a company with a licence to do the work to clear the site responsibly.”