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November 20, 2017

A week to move toxic asbestos

Mum asks why it took councils so long to get rid of material dumped near beach

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR is asking council bosses why it took so long to deal with asbestos dumped near a Hampshire beach.

Despite frantic calls to the authorities after she spotted the debris close to the beach at Hamble, Debbie Gordon. 40, saw nothing being done to remove it.

It was removed about a week later.

The Hamble resident said that she felt the issue had not been treated seriously when she alerted Eastleigh Borough Council, though it has since revealed it is not responsible for the land in question as it is owned by Hamble Parish Council.

It said it had passed Mrs Gordon’s concerns on.

Mrs Gordon first noticed what she believed to be asbestos when walking with her husband at Westfield Common, just up from the beach at Hamble, next to the public walkway, on Wednesday, January 22, though her children saw it two days before.

Mrs Gordon said it was broken and there was dust, which made her more concerned.

She rang the out-of-hours service for Eastleigh Borough Council that evening but Mrs Gordon claims the operator made light of the situation.

She said she had, however, been told that the council would send someone out in the morning when they had protective clothing.

She rang other authorities, including the police, for help and advice, but this had no effect.

Mrs Gordon then found another larger patch of four or five sheets next to the car park.

When fibres from asbestos are inhaled they can cause serious diseases, which may affect people later on in life.

Mrs Gordon said that the asbestos was near public walkways and in areas where children play and teenagers hang around and she was concerned about the long-term effects.

“They’re prepared to let my children, teenagers and the public walk past it,” she said.

An Eastleigh Borough Council spokesperson said it had received a call about the material, which was on land owned by Hamble Parish Council.

He said: “The call was logged and an email sent on Thursday morning informing them of the issue.”

Environmental Health officers from the council did go down independently last Friday and confirmed it was asbestos cement sheeting and of minimal risk.

A Hamble Parish Council spokesman said Eastleigh Borough Council had arranged on their behalf for a fully trained and licensed asbestos contractor to remove the dumped materials from Westfield Common and dispose of them properly.

He said: “Fly-tipping is a distressing but everyday fact of life for local authorities such as ourselves.

“We deal with over 40 incidents each year at Westfield Common alone.

“The entire cost of the clean-up in this instance will be borne by Hamble-le-Rice Parish Council and therefore the Hamble-le-Rice council taxpayer will ultimately be out of pocket over this issue.”

A spokesman for Hampshire police confirmed they had received a call about possible asbestos.

“Full details were taken and passed to the council to deal with as this was assessed not to be a police matter and there were no immediate health and safety concerns,” he said.

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A week to move toxic asbestos

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