Horrified dad finds potentially deadly asbestos used as infill in children’s playground

An investigation is underway after asbestos was found to have been used to infill a children’s playground.

The material, which includes sections of a corrugated roof, was put into the base of a children’s rocking horse ride and partially covered with cement.

It was spotted by a horrified member of the public who contacted Conwy Council, and specialists had to be brought in to remove the potentially deadly waste.

The council, the Health and Safety Executive and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) are all now investigating how the asbestos got there.

Contractors had been working for the council to upgrade the Rhos-on-Sea play area close to Colwyn Bay cricket club at the time the asbestos was found.

The man who found the asbestos, Tim Watson, said:

“I was just passing through the playground last Tuesday when I spotted what looked suspiciously like asbestos was being used as infill for a rocking horse ride for a small child.

I contacted the council who quite swiftly sent people in space suits to remove the material. It had been newly dumped there and covered in cement, but the workmen were nowhere to be seen.

I am horrified this has happened. What I want to know is if asbestos has been dumped like this in any other park in Conwy county or indeed anywhere else. It’s very worrying.”

Laboratory analysis of the material showed it to be a mixture of asbestos types. The use of asbestos was banned entirely in the UK in 2003 as inhaled asbestos fibres almost always prove fatal.

Rhos on Sea councillor Phil Edwards said:

“I am absolutely flabbergasted that anyone should have such an appallingly cavalier attitude towards the handling of asbestos. It is well known and proven to be very harmful to anyone who comes into contact with it when it is disturbed like this.

Whoever is responsible for this must be held to account and we must take steps to ensure that the area is now safe and free from all contamination and those responsible pay for the cost of its removal and be prosecuted for their criminal behaviour.”

An asbestos removal expert from the Conwy area, who asked not to be named, said:

“Asbestos has to be contained and taken to landfill, whoever has done this at a children’s playground is totally illegal. Whoever takes it to landfill has to have a hazardous waste licence, which costs. I’ve never heard of anything like this before.”

Conwy Council confirmed an investigation was underway, but wouldn’t say whether it would extend the investigation to other sites.

A spokeswoman said:

“This matter was brought to our attention on March 29 following a report from a member of the public.

Officers from the Environment, Roads and Facilities Service went to the site to inspect the area and found evidence of a corrugated roofing material in the excavations.

The officers immediately arranged for a licensed asbestos removal company to attend and remove the material. This was done within 30 minutes of contacting the company.

The area was secured to prevent any unauthorised access. The incident has been reported to the Council’s Regulatory Services; the Health and Safety Executive and NRW for full investigation.”