Town's parks' methane probe

INVESTIGATIONS will take place at up to ten former landfill sites in Ipswich amid concerns the land could be storing up explosive methane.

INVESTIGATIONS will take place at up to ten former landfill sites in Ipswich amid concerns the land could be storing up explosive methane, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The move is a result of government legislation on land pollution which means Ipswich Borough Council must identify potentially contaminated sites across town.

Many of these, including sites at Ipswich Waterfront, have already been cleared up as part of planning requirements by developers building new homes.

However, ten former landfill sites are to be checked because in certain circumstances they can create dangerous methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

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Landseer Park is one of the sites currently in the process of being investigated - others will include the West Bank terminal, land off Jupiter Road and the Dales Open Space.

David Rowe, of Ipswich Borough Council's environmental services department, said dangerous emissions could potentially seep through the ground to nearby properties and even through the structures of the buildings.

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This could then result in health problems due to increased carbon dioxide levels or even explosions from methane build-up.

He stressed that the likelihood of such a situation is low but the council is duty-bound to check it out.

He said: “Old landfill sites are in the process of being investigated but they will take some months and years to fully investigate.

“If the waste is domestic it can produce methane and carbon dioxide when it rots and decomposes.

“There is a risk, depending on the soil structure, that it may migrate through the soil and impact on the people around.

“If methane got trapped in an enclosed place, a certain level could be explosive.

“Carbon dioxide can have health effects as well.

“The risk is low but it is still a risk we will investigate.

“There is no real danger to people using Landseer Park as it is such an open space and the gases only build up in an unventilated area.”

Mr Rowe said tests will involve surveying the edges of former landfill sites to see if potentially dangerous gases are present.

A total of around 50 sites across the borough were last year investigated for contamination which can be created by old factories, chemical plants or oil storage.

Do you live near one of the sites affected? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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