Contaminated Denton land set to be used for housing poses a health risk for future residents hoping to grow their own fruit and vegetables, according to a Labour MP.
Andrew Gwynne set up a petition campaigning against the use of the former Oldham Batteries site in Tameside and has warned disturbing the land could ‘pollute the food chain’.
The outline planning application submitted by Langtree is now at its public consultation stage, which ends on December 29.
Mr Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, told MM: “The danger is, if you disturb the land, all those pollutants could come back to the surface.
“It may well be that the council have to restrict whether fruit trees and vegetables can be grown in people’s gardens because you wouldn’t want some of those pollutants to end up in the food supply chain.”
REDEVELOPMENT: The Oldham Batteries site in Denton
The ground will need extensive remediation, which is a process where contaminants are removed from the soil to make the ground suitable for housing.
The MP believes that the cost of this process is preventing the developers who possess the land from putting in a much-needed link road, which would reduce the road congestion from the site.
He said: “The cost of the link road and the cost of the remediation probably don’t make it economically viable for housing. So they think if they wrangle their way out of the link road, it probably just about makes them some money.
“They will have to remove a very substantial amount of ground soil and replace it with clean, new soil. And they will have to put a membrane down.
“The other thing that needs to borne in mind is that the centre of Denton is in an ‘air quality management area’ and that’s mainly because of the motorway that runs through the middle of Denton. It means that quite often the air quality exceeds the EU safe levels.
“It does beg the question as to whether 200 plus houses right next to the M67 is acceptable, knowing that it’s in a poor air quality area.”
Pete Kilvert, Chairman of the Bereathe Clean Air Group, said: “Redevelopment of the site of a former battery factory may cause atmospheric heavy metals such as lead and plastics, and the Council should be monitoring this thoroughly.
“Living next to a motorway is hazardous to health. However, rather than recognising these dangers and doing something about it, Local Authorities are complicit in encouraging polluting industrial processes, power generation and housing into their areas.”
Mr Gwynne has claimed that he would not live in a house built on the site.
He said: “There is a groundswell of opinion in Denton that people want Langtree to develop the site as originally intended, for retail, leisure and employment use with a link road, rather than for housing. There’s a lot of concerns about whether the site is suitable.”
Image courtesy of Derya, with thanks
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