June 18, 2021 4.54 pm This story is over 35 months old

“Toxic waste” concerns over proposed Tattershall recycling centre

Health bosses however, say there are no “significant” risks

Residents near a proposed waste recycling centre fear the site could be dangerous to future workers and users after years of being a dumping site for “toxic waste”.

Those living close to the planned £2 million facility at the former landfill site on Kirkby Lane, Tattershall Thorpe, worry the area could be toxic and say more work needs to be done to ensure its safety.

The Environment Agency and East Lindsey District Council’s Environment health officer, however, say the site presents “no significant human health and environmental risks,” and that the plans can go ahead as long as they work to prevent the Old River Bain being contaminated.

A notice on the gates of the site has only enhanced resident’s fears, however, Lincolnshire County Council has denied the sign is theirs and said they will remove it.

The signage reads: “Danger, Do not Enter”:

  • “Toxic site – lethal dust/soil”
  • “Poison gases”
  • “Underground fire hazard”
  • “Explosion risk”
  • “Bio hazards”
  • “Unstable ground”
  • “Animals entering this site have died within 1-2 hours”.

Objections to the plans from local residents have claimed it was previously used to dump acid tar, and that objects were deposited there which were infected with Swine Vesicular Disease, Fowlpest and Foot and Mouth Disease.

In an extensive response to the authority, one resident, Ben Duncan, says toxic gases are emitted from the site from time to time and that there is a risk of explosion, as well as a danger of toxic dusts and fire.

A danger sign at the entrance to the site. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Concerns have also been raised that documentation listing what may or may not have been dumped at the site are missing.

Tim Claxton, regional estates manager at Aggregate Industries, which is sited opposite the planned HWRC, said: “You will be aware of course that the site in question is registered as contaminated land.

“We are not aware of any official records of what materials were tipped on this land in the 1960s and 1970s, but we are aware from local knowledge that septic tank waste was tipped in there in the 1980s.

“Furthermore, we are led to understand that when the landfill was active, industrial waste and refinery byproducts were brought in from Rotherham and Sheffield.

“Given the nature of this waste, we are concerned about the potential for groundwater contamination should the landfill be disturbed.”

The application has been called in by Councillor Tom Ashton, of Tattershall Castle Division, who said he has picked up on the concerns of local residents.

How the new HWRC would be laid out.

The plans have been supported by Tattershall with Thorpe Parish Council, however Tumby Parish Council objected.

They said: “[The council] believe that the site is unsuitable due to the previous use of the site as a dumping site for toxic waste.”

They added “insufficient soil testing” had taken place and expressed concerns over the stability of the ground.

“Concerns have also been expressed about the health and safety of the public, contractors, local residents and land owners. How will they be protected from any toxic hazards if the plans go ahead.

“There are more suitable sites for this development in the area which have already been identified but apparently dismissed.”

Comments from the Environment Agency note the previous uses of the site “presents a risk of contamination to controlled waters” and said a remediation strategy would be needed or the council would face objections.

The entrance track to the site. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Arshad Bhat, Scientific Officer at East Lindsey District Council, said an investigation into the former waste lagoon site concluded in 2018.

“As a result of this assessment I believe there are no significant human health and environmental risks associated with the site,” he said.

He added that a review of the site investigation report “did not identify geotechnical or geoenvironmental risks.”

Neil McBride, head of planning at Lincolnshire County Council: “It is really important that residents share their concerns with us.”

He said comments to the application, which is listed under PL/0051/21 would be considered by the council’s planning and regulation committee expected to take place on July 26.

“The report to the planning committee will address issues raised by the local community and include the comments from the Environment Agency and the East Lindsey District Council Environmental Health Officer.

“This will ensure the councillors have sufficient technical information to make an appropriate decision on the application.”