Asbestos Campaigners Meet UK Minister 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen

 

 

On March 10, 2010, campaigners Jason Addy, David Phillips and Laurie Kazan-Allen held discussions with John Healey, the Housing and Regeneration Minister, whose remit includes responsibility for the work of the Homes and Communities Agency. The meeting, arranged by the Labour candidate for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, was a follow-up to discussions in 2009 with Prime Minister Brown over the fate of a 72 acre site, formerly home to the world's largest asbestos factory.

 

From the left: Laurie Kazan-Allen, Jason Addy, David Phillips, John Healey and Simon Danczuk.

A satisfactory environmental survey has never been carried out on the land where factory employees were routinely instructed to dump asbestos waste throughout the 20th century. Current moves by developers, who want to build hundreds of homes on this site, include requests for government money to fund detailed site investigations and the possibility of a public-private partnership for residential development.

Considering that a proper remediation of the contaminated site could cost in excess of 40 million, campaigners put an alternative plan to the Minister which would turn the toxic eyesore into a “green lung” for local people. Jason Addy said:

“The cost of permanent remediation or 'soft end' amenity use would be far lower than the exceedingly high costs of 'hard end' residential use. Turning the problematic land into a public amenity which could be used by the Rochdale community for healthy pursuits would be a creative and positive response to this challenging industrial legacy.”

March 11, 2010

 

 

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