Belfast Telegraph

Plans for asbestos dump are given go-ahead

By David Gordon
23 February 2005

Fiercely-opposed plans for a Co Antrim asbestos dump have been given the go-ahead by Environment Minister Angela Smith, it can be revealed today.

Crumlin residents have been battling for months against plans from Belfast firm Eastwoods for an asbestos storage facility at Crosshill quarry in the village.

But the Minister has now told Assemblyman David Ford of her decision to grant approval.

Mrs Smith also disclosed that samples taken at the company's existing landfill site at Crosshill have revealed traces of asbestos.

But she offered assurances on the implications of this contamination.

Mr Ford today strongly condemned the Minister's approval verdict.

He said: "The Minister has now acknowledged there is already asbestos on the site and this raises real concerns.

"I believe the DoE needs more time to examine this issue more thoroughly and to take local opinion into consideration."

In her letter to the Alliance leader, Mrs Smith said asbestos was found in two out of 40 soil samples taken at Crosshill by the DoE's Environment and Heritage Service (EHS).

"A provisional risk assessment indicates that, while a small risk of occupational exposure exists, the environmental and public health risks appear extremely low," the Minister said.

Mrs Smith said the presence of asbestos was also confirmed in two out of five water samples collected.

She said the concentrations detected "are not of a level that would be considered to be hazardous to humans to drink or to aquatic organisms".

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