Many thanks to Retired Hack for this report. In his own words.Ed
After months of denials, the PFI contractor planning a controversial asphalt plant on the banks of the Medina has been forced to admit that asbestos has been found on the landfill site they want to take over.
A specialist report commissioned by Eurovia Roadstone concludes: “It is likely that the asbestos containing material present was deposited as part of the landfill operation. It is therefore likely that additional asbestos containing materials could be encountered during the development of the site. Asbestos containing materials are therefore considered to represent a significant source of contamination with regard to human health.”
Risk to workers
Whilst the report states the risk to construction workers is moderate, and risk to local workers who take over the site once it is developed and those using neighbouring land is low, it could still be considered a huge blow to the entire project.
Local campaigners with long memories of the site had for months warned of the likelihood of asbestos being present. At the same time Eurovia insisted that “none had been found” – based on testing which, it transpired, did not include testing for asbestos.
Link to Highways PFI?
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract, which the Isle of Wight Council Conservative administration regards as one of its greatest achievements, began on 1st April 2013 and sees the management of the Island’s roads handed to the consortium for the next 25 years.
The Council insists that its contract with Eurovia does not rely on the asphalt plant gaining planning consent. But Eurovia has consistently refused to say how it will source asphalt if it cannot develop the site near Cowes.
Councillors kept in the dark
The contract was approved by the Full Council last autumn at a time when the Environmental Health officers were recommending refusal of the plans. Councillors were not told of their concerns, and Ventnor independent councillor Chris Welsford, who tried to have the matter aired in the Chamber, was blocked from doing so by Council chairman Susan Scoccia.
The controversy has also seen the Council pitted against Island MP Andrew Turner, who has sharply criticised Eurovia for failing to address concerns raised by the Wight Residents Against Asphalt Plant (WRAP) campaign group. At the same time Council leader David Pugh was accusing WRAP of scaremongering.
The consultant’s report, which was posted on the Council’s website late on Friday, is embedded for your convenience.
OnTheWight has requested a comment from Eurovia and will update once we hear back.