Anti-asphalt plant campaigners respond to reassurances over asbestos find (updated)

Campaigners believe specialist report which found asbestos at the site would not have been carried out had it not been for pressure from WRAP.


Further to the findings of a specialist report revealing that asbestos has been found on the site of the proposed asphalt plant, we got in touch with the anti-asphalt plant campaign group, Wight Residents Against Asphalt Plant (WRAP) for their view on the report and how it came about.

Julia Hill from WRAP says, “I believe it was as a result of pressure from WRAP. You will notice that the report even refers to concerns of residents surrounding the position of boreholes and goes on to (badly) explain their rationale. They (Eurovia) originally stated they hadn’t found asbestos until it transpired they hadn’t even tested for it.

“Much of the historical data in the report was originally presented to the IWC by WRAP members.”

Council failures
Julia went on the say, “I also note that when guided to the site initially, the IWC failed to provide the company with sufficient data on the background of the site.

“Data which it transpired was freely available from the County records office.”

Health and safety foremost?
In response to the reassurances being offered by Eurovia after the findings, Julia said, “I note David Bindings latest ‘reassurances’ yet if their previous track record of gross negligence in France is anything to go by they have hardly demonstrated themselves as a company that put health and safety foremost.”

OnTheWight have contacted Eurovia to ask how the report came into being and are awaiting a response, which we will add here once received.

Update: 15th April
David Binding, Eurovia Commercial Director, said: “We commissioned our own site investigations, completed in December, following consultation with the Environment Agency, Isle of Wight Council and as a result of the new National Planning Policy Framework.”

Image: Sean Rogers1 under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 12th April, 2013 12:51pm



Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Green Issues, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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55 Comments on "Anti-asphalt plant campaigners respond to reassurances over asbestos find (updated)"

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It’s hard to see how it could be otherwise. Eurovia were happily accepting the initial report of no asbestos, as were the Council and its planning dept. What would have stopped it, except for WRAP’s intervention?

The Council never enquire into anything when not enquiring produces the result they want.

Black Dog

Well done Julia and the WRAP team. We all need to let Eorovia that we are not pushovers and that this matter is far from concluded.

steve s

This absolutely stinks.
Just like the council’s refusal to accept VTC’s nomination for the Coastal Visitor’s Centre stinks. And the situation surrounding the new Cowes Enterprise College stinks.
The foul odour of failure and maladministration is EVERYWHERE!


Our present (mal)administration appears to be the most corrupt council I have ever had the misfortune to come across. It only needs 21 of the Island Independents to be elected next month and this lot will be sent to the landfill tip of history. Come on Islanders show these undemocratic excuses where they belong!

downwind resident
So Eurovia say they are going to import fresh clean soil to form the enormous acoustic bund they need to surround this monstrous asphalt plant. But wait, Eurovia were originally going to dig down into the landfill site and use the contaminated soil in order to lower the visual impact of this vision of Hades upon the local population (and save themselves lots of money). Just imagine,… Read more »
James Luke
How much earth are Eurovia actually planning to move? Assuming they stick with their original plan of digging down (raising the levels would surely constitute a very serious material change requiring re-submission of the planning application), they will be required to remove all the contaminated earth. I understand that the site is 80mx100m and that the contamination could be up to 5m deep. I assume that all… Read more »
James Luke
A good indicator of costs is shown at this link =>$file/urgp_case_study_024_Greenwich.pdf I think that we can assume that the cost of removing the contamination is many millions. I wonder whether the PFI allows for that cost to be passed on to the tax payer? This is a serious question that Islanders are entitled to ask. We keep asking for detail on the proposed alternative sources of… Read more »
I do not believe it
Do nor forget, especially come the May elections, that just a short time ago ‘Pughrile’ accused WRAP of “scaremongering” about this proposed noxious asphalt plant. I can understand the slimy behavior of Eurovia and it’s executives – they want to make wads of cash! But what I cannot digest is the disreputable conduct of Pugh and his cohorts. Mind you, I should not be surprised – after… Read more »
steve s

Scaremongering? Yes, that word again.
It’s one of David’s favourite rebuffs whenever his disastrous ideas are questioned.

James Luke

If we referred to capping the contamination as the “Chernobyl” option, would that be scaremongering?


That’s a useful guide to someone like me, James. When you mention what they did at Chernobyl I know what you are talking about.


@Steve s. “Scaremongering? Yes, that word again. It’s one of David’s favourite rebuffs whenever his disastrous ideas are questioned.”

Well- it makes a change from the usual”scapegoating” doesn’t it! :-))

James Luke

They certainly denied the obvious for far too long …. that’s another common factor between that disaster and this application.

Guy Eades

As the Isle of Wight has to repair and upgrade its roads why don’t Eurovia/Island Roads just sit down with the Isle of Wight Council and discuss alternative sites for their asphalt plant instead of pursuing it at this highly problematic site?


As I’ve noted on another topic this morning, it’s beyond wierd! There must be some powerful financial vested interests involved, that stop this being resolved sensibly…..(The latter not a phrase readily associated with County Hall).


…and joint vested interests at that, links between both sides…

James Luke
Guy – I couldn’t agree more! In my experience professional people know that a win-win solution is always the optimal solution. Starting a 25 year contract with this level of conflict is certainly not healthy. I have heard statements from Councillors that imply the delivery of the contract is Eurovia’s problem. Whilst legally that may be accurate (although the Jury is out on that one), it does… Read more »
Happy Daze
Spare a thought for the IWC Planning application Case Officer There have been so many pathetic attempts by Eurovia to paper over the cracks all of which have been countered bt WRAP that it will take a team of scientists to consider all this stuff. I look forward to reading the Case Officer’s Report in due course (perhaps sometime just before Christmas) and learning by how many… Read more »

Eurovia plus IW Council (as made up at present) = a good imitation of the gentle aroma of Billingsgate


The Council appear to have sabotaged their website with 2 weeks to go before the election. All my bookmarks to planning applications on their site are returning page not found as are google search results.

Black Dog

If this is the case WRAP should document this, if they have not already done so, as part of a potential judicial review.

Amanda BH

On The Wight, please, please, please write a piece about council’s ‘new’ web site. It is an utter disaster. Incomplete, terrible layout, loads of bad links, and as Bystander says, bookmarks not working.

happy daze

It seems all the old web-links have been severed (?)

But if you go in direct it’s all still there;-

It doesn’t seem much like an improvement to me! Still only showing objections on a daily basis and virtually un-navigable to find previous objections!!

downwind resident
James Luke’s web-link to the soil remediation works undertaken at Greenwich for the Millenium Dome (O2) building is excellent bedtime reading for Eurovia and PD Ports. Isn’t about time PD Ports had a word with the IW Council about the cost of cleaning up all the old IW municipal rubbish on their land? Why on earth did the IW Council suggest this contaminated landfill site to Eurovia… Read more »
Jill Russell
Millennium Dome contamination due to old gas works. Just fancy, the Pelham Road/Arctic Road gasworks operated from 19th century till the 1950s just down the road from Medina Wharf. Gasworks were major asbestos users. So wonder where their waste went? Eurovia trying to minimise the asbestos findings is like the old joke : “Sure, it was only a very little baby, madam” the pregnant maid said.
happy daze

Who exactly is responsible for public health on this island of ours?

sam salt

The Isle of Wight Council is responsible for public health nowadays.

James Luke
Everyone points at everyone else. The planners say it’s a matter for the environment team, the environment team put the responsibility on DEFRA and EU legislation. The planners repeatedly state that it’s the responsibility of the applicant to conduct the required assessments and they seem to think that any issues can be addressed with conditions (again putting the responsibility onto someone else to comply with the conditions).… Read more »
Steve Goodman

This scandal features in the current edition of Private Eye (1339; Rotten Boroughs); now that we have recovered from our bout of election fever perhaps there is hope for a more generally acceptable outcome.

If we must have an asphalt plant here – and that is debatable – can we not use our present site, & local employees?

James Luke

I hope that one of the first acts of the new Council will be to discuss alternative options with the PFI Contractor.

The best business deals are those where everyone works for a solution that is in the best interests of all parties. That’s what needs to happen here!

Black Dog

@James Luke – James I have been following your submissions here for a while I think it would be very useful if you could let us know where would be a suitable site for the Asphalt Plant if one was needed? The current application is completely unacceptable

James Luke
One alternative option would be to use the existing site. I realise that there are commercial issues that will need to be overcome, however dealing with those issues can’t be as hard as clearing the contaminated land in Cowes and then overcoming the noise, dust, pollution, traffic congestion and economic impact issues associated with the current application. I don’t have the geographical or business knowledge of the… Read more »
Downwind Resident
James if they were to cap the asbestos laden landfill site without removing any soil wouldn’t that raise the physical level of the asphalt plant? If so wouldn’t it have a dreadful visual impact to Tourists who use the River Medina? Didn’t WRAP have a montage on their website of that very visual impact that had to be removed by edict of a past Leader of the… Read more »
James Luke
The visual impact issues must now be re-considered. The original plan was to surround the site with massive bunds created by excavating soil from the site. I seem to recall the feasibility of constructing these bunds being called into question on issues of ground stability. If they cap the site, the bunds will need to be higher (2 metres I believe) and they will have to import… Read more »
Black Dog
Well said James, honest as ever. The information I have about the existing plant is that they have plan to upgrade their plant to allow them to produce the quality and grade of Asphalt required. Unfortunately the existing asphalt plant owners fell foul of the Island sickness thinking the IWC/Islanders had/have no other choice when it came to the PFI contract which is reflected in them being… Read more »
James Luke

A classic case of loose-loose-loose.

BV didn’t win the PFI.
The Island gets this terrible proposal for a second unwanted Asphalt Plant.
Eurovia get a planning dispute and a troubled project.

So let’s hope that a new Council has the vision and sense to look for, and facilitate, a win-win-win.


O yes it is possible to bring asphalt from the mainland,been done very easily before on various occasions,the one i remember most was top of Medina Way-St Marys roundabout-towards the prisons,and the material was waiting at 05.30 each day.


well they are doing something to our roads so the asphalt is getting her from Somerset .nice little earner for Wight link

happy daze

Black Dog from which source did you hear of this £55M?

Do you know what it comprises and over which periods?

Has the old IWC released sensitive bid information in an attempt to subvert competition?

Black Dog

All I can say it it was not a council source. It is hard enough getting information out of them on a FOI


A little unrelated I know, but I do not recall a lot of objections being made when they drilled for oil on this same site.
But then half the residents were hoping to become JR Ewing’s and Cowes would have become Dallas.

James Luke
The reasons for my objections are clearly stated; air pollution, noise, exposure of contaminated land, dust, visual impact, traffic congestion and economic impact. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that Local Authorities should “work proactively with applicants to secure developments that improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area”. Given that an Asphalt Plant will clearly harm the economic, social and environmental conditions of… Read more »
downwind resident

Which half were you in John R?

And let me guess your surname is Ewing!

WRAP is fighting a serious campaign against a dreadful proposition to destroy the locality and endanger residents health.

I wish WRAP every success against the multi billion pound company Eurovia and its casino bankers who are only motivated by profit!

James Luke
@JohnR – John, your issue seems to be with the fact that we are objecting to this proposal. Rather than “objecting to objectors” on principle, it would be more constructive for you to address the specific issues raised. Contaminated land is just one of many well researched reasons why we feel this proposal should be rejected. The other reasons are air quality, noise, traffic congestion, dust, odour… Read more »
Have just today seen the first attempt at highway resurfacing by this company,all i can say to them is don’t do any more. What i saw was disastrous,and they expect it to last,no way,for a start it was either cold when it was laid or rolled to late.If laid by machine it’s disastrous,25 years ago we used to lay about 15 tones a day by hand,and get… Read more »
happy daze

ohmy can you confirm to which road you are referring please and what has happened exactly.

Do you mean Place Road in Cowes?

How bad is the asphalting ? Do lorries sink into it and leave tyre marks or is it breaking up?


Happy Daze,think it is Place road ,towards the roundhouse in Cowes,no ,lorries don’t sink or leave marks,not yet at least,put it this way,if i had had my driveway redone and that is how it turned out i would demand it was dug up and redone before i paid a penny for it.


Old Road in East Cowes is worse now than before they started if this is the finished article

adi whittaker

MAY be the proposed Asphalt Plant site should be turned into a wind farm ??? i bet the locals would complain about that are may be housing . This happens all over the island and if this dosnt stop the island will never move forward . CANT WAIT TILL THE FIXED LINK IS REVISITED NEXT YEAR

James Luke
The lack of a reasoned, factual argument for the Asphalt Plant is the biggest argument against it. Objectors have presented well researched, factual concerns about the impact on health, the surrounding communities and the economy. We are yet to see a single positive reason why this proposal is needed. I have asked on this blog and in the IWCP for someone to present the case for the… Read more »

tell you what adi how about we dig up some of this contaminated soil and dump it in your garden then you can build your own wind farm on it

adi whittaker

i had a laugh when i saw this but on a serious note its ok for people to say they dont want it but what would be put there in its place ???/ i agree the location is bad may be the island residents should help find another location as where it should go may be one of the old derelict farms

adi whittaker

i even gave you a positive vote on it


Council officers are there to research such things properly. In no way are Island residents to blame for not finding a suitable alternative!

Downwind Resident
I have just had another look at the Asphalt Planning website (web link above on Happy Daze’s comment above) and there is still no sign of any submission by Eurovia stating what they actually intend to do to protect the public from the asbestos. All the asbestos – contaminated land should be excavated and taken away to a safe landfill site where no one is ever going… Read more »