Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Asbestos depot causes concern for Holbury residents

Containers
Image caption The sealed containers are near a private garden

Residents of a Hampshire village say they fear health risks from asbestos stored near homes.

Hampshire County Council approved the asbestos waste storage depot beside houses at Holbury near Fawley in July.

Occupants of the houses claim there could be leaks of toxic asbestos dust.

A spokesperson for Solent Environmental Services insisted the depot was "as safe as it could be" and said it had passed the relevant health and safety regulations.

Residents of Ivor Close are concerned over the potential danger of any asbestos being released from the containers.

One of the skips has been placed on land directly behind the garden of one resident, Mavis Barnes.

Mrs Barnes said: "If the slightest bit dust comes over, nobody's going to know about it. If there is a leak are we going to be told about it and is it safe for the children in play in the garden?"

The site is also less than 500m (545 yards) from Hardley Secondary School.

'Pose no risk'

Caroline McCale's garage backs on to the area where the skips are standing.

She said: "Asbestos should be stored in a secure area away from a built-up area."

Image caption Local people are protesting at the decision

In approving the proposal, Hampshire County Council's planning committee report stated: "The storage containers themselves are deemed to be safe by the regulatory bodies and will pose no risk.

"There is no processing or treatment of the asbestos on site and so there is no harm to the health of local residents or the local environment."

Ian Chiddicks, contracts manager at Solent Environmental Services insisted the asbestos was "double-bagged" and the sealed skips and premises were kept secure.

He said: "The asbestos industry is one of the most regulated in the country. We would never even have got to Hampshire planning if we had not fulfilled all of our obligations under health and safety and Environment Agency legislation.

"I am quite satisfied with the safety and the logistics of where this site it."

The residents, who claim they were not properly consulted, said they would fight on to get the decision reversed.