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Asbestos fears on former air base

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

THE demolition of 65 acres of buildings on a redundant American air base at Bentwaters has raised fears that nearby residents could be vulnerable to asbestos.

THE demolition of 65 acres of buildings on a redundant American air base at Bentwaters has raised fears that nearby residents could be vulnerable to asbestos.

Complaints have been received by environmental health officers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) about a huge project to bring down 25,000sq m of buildings over several months.

The HSE has had a meeting with the contractors involved in the project and an inspector will monitor the demolition.

A spokeswoman said: ''An HSE inspector did have a meeting with contractors and one of the subjects was that residents are concerned about asbestos that could be in buildings that are demolished.

''Asbestos was widely used in the 20th Century in buildings and it is not uncommon that it should be present. Contractors have to follow strict guidelines and the HSE is informed when there is a risk of asbestos.''

Bernard Chatterley, a director of Bentwaters Management Ltd, complained to Suffolk Coastal District Council about the possible impact of asbestos which can lead to asbestosis (inflammation of the lungs).

''When we first moved here four years ago we were told there was asbestos in a lot of the buildings. Now that they are being demolished I raised the question over the asbestos.

''I have had a word with the demolition people and I was told they are aware of the situation and there could be asbestos in one building which will be completely sealed and the asbestos cleared before it is demolished.

''I am very happy having spoken to them and they have assured me that everything will be done properly,'' said Mr Chatterley.

Seebrook Holdings Ltd, owners of the domestic side of the base, has awarded a £750,000 contract for the demolition of buildings including barrack blocks, a bowling alley, the Anglia Inn pub, clinic, petrol station, shopping mall and maisonettes. Trees will be kept and the area will be landscaped with new houses.

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