Shropshire Star

Residents discuss setting up group to look into Telford landfill claims

More than 40 residents provided a lively audience at a meeting called over claims about "potential danger" from liquids at a disused landfill near a world heritage site.

The Green Party's Pat McCarthy, left and Reverend Paul Cawthorne

The gathering was organised by Telford and Wrekin Green Party and heard from the Reverend Paul Cawthorne, who has spent many years working on the "toxic legacy left by Monsanto in the USA and Britain".

They make claims that have been strenuously denied by Telford & Wrekin Council.

Telford and Wrekin Green Party co-ordinator Pat McCarthy said officials from various organisations with an interest in the site had been invited but they did not turn up to the meeting at Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge Community Centre.

More than 40 people attended the meeting

He said: “I feel sorry for the audience as they were unable to put their questions to their councillors, Bournville Village Trust, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent, all have whom were invited and declined.

"But at least it reveals to residents that the councillors and agencies who are meant to listen to concerns about environmental and public health are letting them down and they must be held accountable”

The meeting heard claims that the campaigners have carried out their own tests on "bubbling" liquids at the site which raise "serious doubts" about statements about the safety of the site.

They announced at meeting "results of indicative phenol testing of the leachate leaking out of the landfill site", which they said were positive, raising "serious doubts about statements about the safety of this site".

Reverend Paul Cawthorne

The Shropshire Star has not seen the results of these test or been able to verify them.

But residents feel that they are "being met with a brick wall" over the issue and it makes them think there is a cover-up.

The council has released data on its website and repeatedly said there is no safety issue at the site.

Campaigners then hit back by saying the council is not testing for everything that they should.

Mr McCarthy said he wants to see officials release information on persistent organic pollutants.

He added that many of the audience stayed behind to discuss creating a residents's group to look into ways of "ensuring that the site is safe".

People interested in joining the group should contact Mr McCarthy on 07986 927282.

A spokesperson for Telford & Wrekin Council said the site is an "actively managed former landfill site that poses no risk",

They added: "We are aware that a public meeting took place on Thursday November 16 relating to Stoneyhill landfill site in Lightmoor and that unfounded claims about the site have been shared with the community.

"We have been corresponding with the individual behind these claims over many years.

"We would like to reassure our residents that Stoneyhill is an actively managed former landfill site that poses no risk."

The statement said that regular tests are conducted by the council, Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency.

It says: "Regular tests are conducted within the site boundary and around the vicinity of the site by Telford & Wrekin Council, Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency. Of all the testing results to date, none has presented any cause for concern."

The statement adds that it encourages "members of the public who are interested in the facts about Stoneyhill landfill site" to visit a web page which "features a comprehensive FAQs section and council contact details".

Its website states: “Former landfill sites such as Stoneyhill exist across the country and are subject to strict regulations regarding their safe management.

“The public do not need to be concerned about Stoneyhill landfill site, as regular testing continues to show that the site is not negatively impacting the surrounding environment, waterways or neighbouring properties.

“The council and its specialist contractor fulfils their duties to ensure the landfill site and its contents are managed and controlled.”

The statement continues to say that while records confirmed a “significant volume of asbestos sheeting” was deposited at the site, there is no evidence in the records received from Shropshire County Council that toxic materials or waste were tipped in Stoneyhill landfill.

It continues: “Records also confirm that Monsanto had a licence to deposit materials within the site and correspondence confirms its acceptance.

“However, there is no evidence to suggest this material is problematic, and Environment Agency records confirm that chemical waste from Monsanto delivered to the site was 'not toxic'.”