Asbestos blight near playground

A HUNT was on today for fly-tippers who dumped piles of redundant asbestos beside a recreation ground in Ipswich.The potentially-lethal asbestos was dumped over the weekend behind garages in The Drift, off Woodbridge Road, which is next to the Cherry Tree Recreation Ground.

A HUNT was on today for fly-tippers who dumped piles of redundant asbestos beside a recreation ground in Ipswich.

The potentially-lethal asbestos was dumped over the weekend behind garages in The Drift, off Woodbridge Road, which is next to the Cherry Tree Recreation Ground.

The asbestos was spotted by county councillor Russell Harsant and his borough council colleague Eileen Smith.

It was dumped at the end of a row of lock-up garages that have been subjected to several vandalism attacks over the last few months.

They have been broken into and their contents damaged - a neighbouring business has put up razorwire in an attempt to prevent trouble.

Mr Harsant said: “I understand this asbestos isn't the most dangerous, but it isn't the kind of thing you want to find dumped beside a recreation ground like this.

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“I know it's not going to be easy to track down who is responsible for this - but the borough needs to do something about this.”

Mrs Smith was also determined to see some action.

She said: “This is intolerable. I shall get straight on to the relevant officers - I understand it is not the most dangerous asbestos but you cannot just dump it somewhere like this.”

Despite claims that the asbestos was not the most dangerous form, East Anglian asbestosis campaigner Helen Bucky warned that any of the material was potentially hazardous if it was not handled properly.

She said: “I would be very worried if there was a pile of asbestosis near me. It needs to be handled very carefully by specialists - whatever type of asbestosis it is.

“The thing about asbestosis is that the symptoms can show themselves years after you have had exposure to it - that's why it is the silent killer.”

Regular dog-walker Karen Hazell was angry to find the asbestos so near the public space.

She said: “It is annoying that we keep finding things dumped here - I suppose it is out of the way.

“There was an improvement here a few months ago when some people on community service cut the grass around the garages and made it a bit more tidy.

“But it didn't stay tidy and now this has happened.”

Borough environment spokeswoman Inga Lockington said she would be checking with officers from the streetcare department to see what could be done about the asbestos.

She said: “There could be problems if it is on private land because then it technically becomes the responsibility of the landowner.

“But we would expect it to be cleared if it is next to a public area like a recreation ground.”

Weblink: www.ipswich.gov.uk/services/streetcare>

The land is next to some lock-up garages owned by Ipswich businessman Richard Cattermole. He was shocked to hear about the fly-tipping.

He said: “I think it is appalling some of the things you see dumped at the side of the road - I see that all the time.

“I don't own that land - I only own the garages which I am hoping to redevelop as business units and I wouldn't want old asbestos in the area.”

Other councils do not have a serious problem with asbestos dumping. Both Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastals had not had any cases over the last three months.

Daniel Whymark from Babergh said: "The dumping of cement-bonded asbestos is a minor one in Babergh with an average of a case per month, although there has been a slight increase over the last few weeks.

"This type of asbestos is most commonly found in households and is not as dangerous - or as costly to dispose of - as people think.

"Babergh can arrange a special collection if a householder has a small amount of cement-bonded asbestos which needs to be disposed of.

“At the moment this service is free and is better for the householder - and the taxpayer - as dumped asbestos can cost hundreds of pounds to remove."

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