Residents in Britain’s best village are up in arms over plans to dump 645,000 TONNES of asbestos on their doorstep.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has approved plans to dump the killer chemical in a disused quarry near Chew Magna in Somerset.
It is just 200 yards from a natural spring which runs into the picturesque Chew Valley Lake and locals fear their water supply will be contaminated.
But the council has dismissed claims there is a threat to the public, saying the risk of the asbestos contaminating the water supply was ”negligible”.
Its report, carried out and reviewed by two hydrogeologists, states the spring source is located on the upgradient side of the site and therefore considered at low potential risk.
Earlier this year Chew Magna – where the average house price is over #400,000 – was voted the Best village in Britain by upmarket estate agent Savills.
A spokesperson for the council said: ”The Environment Agency was fully consulted on the planning application and had no objections.
”We were therefore satisfied that the potential impacts of the proposal on the environment had been fully considered and a refusal of planning permission on these grounds would not have been justified.
”The comments raised by Bristol Water led to additional work being undertaken by an independent hydrogeologist and their findings were reviewed by a hydrogeologist from another company.
”Both hydrogeologists reached the same conclusion that the risk to water pollution was considered to be negligible.”
It is estimated that 150,000 tonnes will be initially dumped in the quarry with 645,000 tonnes dumped over a ten-year period – the equivalent of 50 lorries per day.
The Stop Stowey Quarry Asbestos Landfill group has campaigned heavily against the decision and say they weren’t consulted.
Sarah-Jane Streatfield-James, 44, from nearby Bishops Sutton, described the decision as ”bonkers”.
She said: ”It’s a flawed decision – the quarry is on a hill and not on ground level and there is evidence of slippage in the past.
”It’s not just the asbestos being dumped but the inevitable other chemicals such as leachate which could get into the water supply.
”The council is saying the risk is negligible, but negligible is still too much. It’s dangerous and bonkers.
”We weren’t consulted on this and we don’t even need it. The nearby sites have 20 years space and BANES only has 1,200 tonnes of asbestos waste a year to dump.
”It begs the question: where is the remaining 64,000 tonnes per year coming from?”
Asbestos is the greatest single cause of work related deaths in the UK, claiming 4,000 lives per year.
The chemical is generally safe until it is disturbed and fibres become airborne.
Working on or near damaged asbestos-containing materials or breathing in high levels of asbestos fibres, which may be many hundreds of times that of environmental levels can increase chances of getting an asbestos-related disease such as lung cancer.
The council confirmed no asbestos will be landfilled until the Environment Agency is satisfied with the construction of the landfill cells and the asbestos handling procedures.