Crosshill Quarry Asbestos Storage Facilities Approved
Published on Wed, 23 Feb 2005
The Environment Minister, Angela Smith, has confirmed that the asbestos storage facility at Crosshill Quarry, Crumlin will be approved.
The Minister said: "I have had face-to-face meetings with a number of parties and I have listened carefully to their opinions. However, I am satisfied that there are no environmental reasons to withhold or refuse planning permission for the storage of asbestos at the Crosshill Quarry site. I know that concerns have been expressed about this site and that is understandable. I am aware also that disproportionate and unnecessary fears have been aroused, and that is regrettable.
"Both my Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) and Eastwoods will continue to monitor for the presence of asbestos in water to ensure full compliance with the discharge consent. With the addition of independent air quality monitoring as a condition of any licence or permit application, these measures will ensure that there will be no risks to nearby residents from water, land or air."
The Minister stressed that thorough scientific investigations have concluded that there are no significant residual risks associated with the historical deposit of redundant railway carriages in the site and therefore there are no environmental reasons to withhold planning permission.
Notes to Editors
- The submission of a planning application in November 2003 by Eastwoods Ltd. to develop a storage facility for asbestos at Crosshill Quarry Crumlin generated considerable local opposition and media attention.
- The proposal involves double bagged asbestos being transported from its removal site to Crosshill where it will be securely stored in steel containers awaiting movement off site for final disposal in GB.
- This is the normal transfer process throughout the United Kingdom and accepted practice for the safe disposal of asbestos.
- This kind of facility represents an important element of Northern Ireland’s infrastructure.
- The applicants are licensed asbestos removal contractors with the Health and Safety Executive (NI) and the quarry has a waste licence and discharge consent.
- Following the draining of the quarry in 2003, 18 old railway carriages were uncovered. Having discussed the matter with a number of government bodies, Eastwoods undertook to relocate the carriages within the quarry site and to encapsulate them in clay. There are no environmental concerns at the site arising from the reburial of the carriages. In fact, the work has resulted in a significant environmental improvement on what existed previously.
- As a precautionary measure and to help alleviate concerns, EHS undertook detailed water and soil sampling investigations.
- Results show that the level of asbestos present in the water is not considered to be hazardous to humans to drink or to aquatic organisms. Extensive soil sampling indicated a very low presence of asbestos at one location of the quarry, presenting no significant risk. Nonetheless, Eastwoods has been advised to seal this small central area of the quarry to eliminate any possible environmental release.
- Further news media information contact DOE Press Office tel 028 9054 0003.