January 18, 2019

Asbestos found in NSW home as free testing widens in Mr Fluffy saga

The first property to test positive for loose-fill asbestos as part of the NSW government’s free testing program has been identified.

The property is located within the Berrigan Shire Council area, an agricultural area in the southern Riverina – halfway between Albury and Echuca.

It is the first home to provide a positive result since the NSW government began offering free voluntary roof insulation testing in August last year. So far, 630 tests across the state have been completed. The Berrigan property brings to 58 the number of NSW homes found to contain loose-fill asbestos. These include 14 houses and one block of 38 units in Queanbeyan, a home in the Yass Valley, one in Bungendore, one in Lithgow, one in Parramatta and one in Manly.

Three other affected homes have been demolished. All those properties were identified via historical records, prior to the positive Berrigan test.

Last August the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct an independent investigation into the number of NSW properties affected by loose-fill asbestos supplied by two known companies, the ACT’s Mr Fluffy and a second contractor Bowsers Asphalt, which was targeting large non-residential buildings in NSW.

A spokesman for the NSW government said a technical assessment would now be conducted on the positive asbestos sample to try and determine its origin.

A total of 1752 properties across 26 NSW Local Government Areas have registered for the free testing program which will run until August.

The newly discovered home will also be subject to an asbestos assessment to advise owners whether the living spaces are adequately sealed and whether “asbestos pathways (are) appropriately controlled”.

The Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities said “testing of homes with loose-fill asbestos insulation has shown that exposure is likely to be very low if the asbestos is undisturbed and remains sealed off at all points where entry of asbestos into living areas can occur, including cornices, architraves, around vents, light fittings, manholes and the tops of cupboards.”

NSW residents who are living in homes built before 1980 can register online or call Service NSW to see if they are eligible to have their property tested.

In December, the NSW government announced an inquiry into the potential demolition of loose asbestos-affected homes, in line with action taken by the ACT government.

NSW Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet also announced a financial assistance package for NSW residents who were confirmed to have Mr Fluffy in their homes, providing the same levels of assistance as in the ACT.

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Asbestos found in NSW home as free testing widens in Mr Fluffy saga

NSW launches investigation of 'Mr Fluffy' asbestos

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For the 13 homes already identified, authorities will conduct detailed testing, including air monitoring and possibly asking householders to wear monitors to test the air they are breathing as they go about day-to-day tasks in their homes.

Owners of homes built before 1980 in the 14 local government areas will be able to request a free assessment over the next 12 months, to have their ceilings checked for asbestos insulation.

The chairman of the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities, Peter Dunphy, said the testing offer might well be taken up by thousands of households, but he didn’t expect to find widespread use of the insulation.

“So far we don’t think this going to be very widespread,” he said. “We’re not really anticipating a much bigger number than we’ve already encountered, but we’ll wait to see what comes out of the investigation and what comes out of the samples that come forward.”

He conceded that some homeowners with the insulation might not come forward, but said authorities could not force themselves into people’s homes. They hoped that by offering free assessments they would encourage anyone who suspected the presence of the material to make contact.

Mr Dunphy said the Canberra experience showed removing it had not been effective (the asbestos was removed from the Canberra homes 20 years ago, but fibres have now been found in walls and elsewhere), so containment or demolition were the options facing NSW.

The survey area is highly selective. It doesn’t include all south-eastern areas, but covers the Geater Hume, Berrigan and Wagga Wagga council areas near the Victorian border, the Bega Valley, Snowy River, Cooma Monaro and Eurobodalla council areas on the south coast and the Snowy Mountains, the Palerang (including Braidwood and Bungendore), Queanbeyan, Yass Valley and Goulburn councils around Canberra, the Young council area further west, and Ku-ring-gai and North Sydney councils.

Asked how the areas were chosen, NSW authorities said the decision was made on the basis of information provided by the ACT.

An investigator will be appointed to trawl through state and local government records and follow up anecdotal information to track down any evidence of Mr Fluffy or other loose-fill asbestos companies installing the material in other homes in the 14 areas.

It is clear Mr Fluffy operated outside Canberra, and NSW Health believes a company other than Mr Fluffy may have been operating in the south-west of the state – although this could also have been an offshoot of the Canberra-based company run by Dirk Jansen, colloquially known as Mr Fluffy.

A federal government report from 1968 refers to Sydney company Bowsers Asphalt installing the product over 13 years, but authorities believe Bowsers was using a sprayed form of asbestos as a fire retardant in commercial buildings.

Anecdotal reports suggest the material might have been used in Wollongong in the 1970s, but Wollongong is not part of the survey area.

Mr Perrottet would not reveal the cost of the survey, testing and investigation, but confirmed it was being paid by the NSW government.

Mr Dunphy said similar testing of affected homes had been done in 1993, including monitoring the air householders were breathing over eight hours, and it had not found asbestos levels higher than control houses.

Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall welcomed the announcement as a step in the right direction. He has suggested as many as 60 homes in Queanbeyan could contain the asbestos, based on the proportion of Canberra homes affected, and said he hoped the new investigation would identify all affected properties.

Yass council director of planning and environment Chris Berry said the news was welcome, allowing residents to have their homes checked.

“At least then people know, rather than at the present time when they’re completely in the dark about whether they have a problem or they don’t have a problem,” he said. “The challenge is if there is a problem how do you manage that problem with that particular family.”

Yass council has written to the single house it knows of this week, alerting the owner to the presence of the insulation.

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NSW launches investigation of 'Mr Fluffy' asbestos

Asbestos exposure in schools case sees cancer sufferer paid £275,000 by Devon County Council

Chris Wallace

Chris Wallace was awarded an out of court settlement by Devon County Council after claiming he developed cancer after being exposed to asbestos in school in South Molton in the 1990s and 1980s.

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A “UNIQUE case” where a man claimed he was exposed to asbestos as a schoolboy in South Molton and developed cancer has seen a £275,000 payout by Devon County Council.

Between 1982 and 1993 Chris Wallace went to Yeo Valley Primary School, Yeo Valley Junior School, South Molton JuniorSchool and South Molton Community College.

The 36-year-old was diagnosed with asbestos-related terminal cancer of an organ lining at the age of 30.

Known as peritoneal mesothelioma, this form of cancer grows in tissues covering the abdomen and can lie dormant for up to 40 years.

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Mr Wallace’s claim was settled by the council just weeks before the case went to court and it awarded him the money without admitting liability.

Mr Wallace, who has since moved to Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, took great care in recollecting times of when he may have come into contact with asbestos during school.He collated examples ahead of the case, which will now not be heard.

Mr Wallace was reported as saying: “It was a very difficult case, having to prove you were there and that you were exposed to a certain level.

“The council has to take a large chunk of responsibility. They know it’s in the building and children are at risk of getting to it.

“It’s down to them to ensure it’s removed safely.”

Devon County Council said this was the first case of a former pupil taking such legal action.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “This is a unique case and the only time a former Devon school pupil has taken legal action in these circumstances.

“We obviously have every sympathy with Mr Wallace for his illness. But it is important to point out that the case was settled out of court without any admission of liability from Devon County Council.

““Devon County Council takes great care to manage asbestos in its buildings and that includes regular inspections. Asbestos is safe as long as it isn’t disturbed.

“All Devon schools have been surveyed for asbestos and each school holds a full record of any asbestos in its buildings.

“This identifies where asbestos is located, its condition and our safety policies. Contractors are also required to sign the asbestos list on any visit which has the potential to disturb the asbestos.

“Schools have their own Asbestos Management Plans which detail their local arrangements, including communication between the school, parents and staff.”

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Asbestos exposure in schools case sees cancer sufferer paid £275,000 by Devon County Council

Workers Exposed to Lead and Asbestos, Olivet Management Fined $2.3M

Real estate developer Olivet Management LLC, which owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., has been fined $2.3 million.

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Olivet Management LLC, a real estate development and management company that owns the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in the Wingdale section of Dover Plains, N.Y., faces a total of $2,359,000 in proposed fines from OSHA, which cited the company for exposing its own employees, as well as employees for 13 contractors, to asbestos and lead hazards during cleanup operations in preparation for a tour of the site by potential investors.

“Olivet knew that asbestos and lead were present at this site, yet the company chose to ignore its responsibility to protect its own workers and contractors,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The intolerable choice this company made put not only workers, but also their families, in danger.”

A statement from Olivet Management said the company “has been working together and cooperating with OSHA and other agencies to ensure that our employees work in a safe and healthful workplace.”

An inspection by OSHA’s Albany Area Office was launched Oct. 23, 2013 in response to a complaint. The inspection found that Olivet employees and contractors allegedly were exposed to asbestos and lead while performing renovation and cleanup activities. The work, which was directed and overseen by Olivet supervisors, included removing: asbestos- and lead-contaminated debris; asbestos-containing floor tiles and insulation; and lead-containing paint from walls, windows, door frames and other painted surfaces.

OSHA determined that Olivet “knowingly” failed to take basic safety precautions. The company neither informed their own employees nor the contractors about the presence of asbestos and lead, despite knowing that both hazards existed. As a result, Olivet did not:

  • Train employees in the hazards of asbestos and lead and the need and nature of required safeguards;
  • Monitor workers’ exposure levels;
  • Provide appropriate respiratory protection; post notices, warning signs and labels to alert workers and contractors to the presence of asbestos and lead; or
  • Provide clean changing and decontamination areas for workers, many of whom wore their contaminated clothing home to households with small children.

As a result of these conditions, Olivet was cited for 45 alleged willful violations, with $2,352,000 in proposed fines. Twenty-four of the willful citations address instance-by-instance exposure of workers to asbestos and lead hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Olivet was also issued one serious citation, with a $7,000 fine, for failing to inform waste haulers of the presence of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials, meaning asbestos from the site may have been disposed of improperly at an unknown location. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Olivet Speaks Out

Olivet Management said it is reviewing the notice and will address the citations in a timely manner.

“We have the same goals as OSHA, to insure that once construction and renovation work is commenced, all workers will be fully protected against any unsafe and unhealthful working conditions,” said the statement from the company. “Furthermore, being new to New York State, we are grateful for the direction we have been given by both state and federal agencies in helping us move forward with our long term commitment to bring economic development, stability and vibrancy and new jobs to the area in the most effective and efficient manner as possible.”

Olivet said it will be taking a close look at the extensive citations and penalties that OSHA issued “in the hope of working with the agency to resolve them.”

Due to the willful violations found at the site, Olivet has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites.

Renovation and cleanup activities can generate airborne concentrations of asbestos and lead. Workers can be exposed to both through inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and gastrointestinal cancer. While lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys, blood forming organs, and reproductive system.

In January, EPA ordered Olivet to stop all work that could disturb asbestos at the facility. EPA’s investigation is ongoing.

The company said it will work “with all affected parties to revitalize these many acres of property which have been unused and remain in their original condition when the state of New York closed all state hospitals facilities 20 years ago.”

Olivet Management said it plans to continue moving forward on the project and is “committed to for the long term.”

Olivet has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

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Workers Exposed to Lead and Asbestos, Olivet Management Fined $2.3M

Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Denis O’Rourke MP
Spokesperson for
Christchurch Earthquake Issues
12 February 2014

Questions Asked Over Dumping of

New Zealand First is calling on
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to deny that
toxic asbestos waste is being transported from quake-hit
Christchurch to Southland, or that it soon will be.

the Minister deny that there is a proposal to cart
asbestos-contaminated material to a substandard
landfill?,” asks spokesperson for Christchurch Earthquake
Issues Denis O’Rourke.

“Can the Minister reassure New
Zealanders that all asbestos-containing materials will be
permanently dumped in a properly built and designated
facility and put an end to the rumours that are

“Can the Minister confirm that material
containing asbestos will not be transported in containers,
trucks or wagons that have not been specifically built for
the purpose?

“Authorities warn that there is a health
risk associated with asbestos if it is exposed or damaged.
Breathing in fibres can lead to breathing difficulties and
even lung cancer. If asbestos is left undisturbed it is
considered safe.

“That’s why there are guidelines for
safe work practices and transportation.

has a purpose built, multi-million dollar landfill at Kate
Valley with trucks specially designed to carry waste to the
site north of Christchurch.

“There is no need to be
shopping around for a cut-price deal to get rid of the
Christchurch stockpiles.

“There is no need to even
consider transporting asbestos-contaminated materials in
unsuitable containers to an inferior facility.

“With the
demolition of an unprecedented number of buildings
containing asbestos in Christchurch, safety is of paramount

“New Zealand First calls on the Minister to
provide reassurances to the people of Canterbury, Southland
and places in between on the handling, transporting and
dumping of asbestos-contaminated material,” says Mr


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Questions Asked Over Dumping of Asbestos

Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim

Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim

A FORMER teacher believes the life-threatening cancer she is suffering from may have been caused by exposure to asbestos during a 22-year career at schools in East Lancashire.

Janet Gent, a victim of the lung condition mesothelioma, is now appealing to her former colleagues to come forward as her lawyers prepare a claim for compensation.

Mrs Gent worked for eight years until as a home economics teacher at Walton High in Nelson and is convinced she was exposed to asbestos fibres or dust at the former Oxford Road school.

Her legal representatives, Thompsons Solicitors, understand that neither her, nor her colleagues, were made aware of the potential dangers in their working environment.

Four years ago the Lancashire Telegraph reported that 213 schools in Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Ribble Valley were found to have asbestos in their structures.

But education officials then insisted that the material, which comes in a variety of forms, was not dangerous unless it was disturbed.

Refurbishment programmes at a number of local schools have included work to remove asbestos from walls or other partitions.

Mrs Gent, who still lives in the Nelson area, also worked as a supply teacher at 15 high schools or special schools in East Lancashire, and one in South Yorkshire, from 1983 to 1995.

These include the former Barden, Ivy Bank, Habergham, Gawthorpe and St Theodore’s high schools and a special school in Burnley, Walshaw and Mansfield high schools, and Town House and Hendon Brook special schools in Nelson, Park and Primet High, along with Gibfield special school, all in Colne, Tullyann School in Darwen, and Valley special school in Rossendale.

Joanne Candlish, Thompsons’ asbestos team head, said: “It is vital that we trace Janet Gent’s co-workers to enable a full investigation to be carried out into her history of asbestos exposure “Mrs Gent needs and deserves to see justice done and we are committed to helping her achieve this.”

Potential witnesses are being asked to call Mrs Candlish on 0151 224 1644.

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Former East Lancs teacher in absestos cancer claim

Asbestos dumped at Dungowan

THE dumping of asbestos in the Dungowan Valley recently has prompted fresh warnings that offenders face hefty fines or even jail time.

Anyone caught illegally discarding the deadly material in public places can be fined up to $1 million and jailed for up to seven years.

The latest incident comes after a high-profile case in May when 15 bags of asbestos were found hidden in long grass off Locks Ln in Tamworth.

Tamworth Regional Council’s health and environment manager Ross Briggs said there had been “numerous” discoveries of asbestos in the area.

He said each incident cost council – and by extension the community – about $2500 to carry out an investigation and safely remove the hazardous material.

“It’s just so irresponsible,” he said. “There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, so anyone who comes into contact with it faces a potential health risk, not to mention the related possible environmental problems.”

Mr Briggs said the council was using this month’s Asbestos Awareness Month to dispel some common misconceptions surrounding the banned building material.

He said one of the most prevalent myths in the community was that legally disposing asbestos was prohibitively expensive.

“However, this is not the case,” he said. “The cost for asbestos disposal at Tamworth Waste Management Centre of Forest Rd is as little as $13 for a pre-paid disposal bag.”

For more information about the safe disposal of asbestos, visit the Tamworth Regional Council website.

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Asbestos dumped at Dungowan

Anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by 'negligent' council

Coulsdon residents’ anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by ‘negligent’ Croydon Council

Exclusive By Chris Baynes, Reporter

Concerned residents Mario and Mia Celiberdi, Richard and Judy Yates, and Nikki, Robyn, Colin and Nathan Jakeman

Concerned residents Mario and Mia Celiberdi, Richard and Judy Yates, and Nikki, Robyn, Colin and Nathan Jakeman

Outraged families have condemned “negligent” Croydon Council for failing to clear up potentially lethal asbestos for six weeks after it was dumped near their homes.

Safety campaigners have also criticised the inadequate response to dozens of calls from concerned Coulsdon residents about the toxic material, which can cause cancer, that was left in a public alleyway by fly-tippers.

Experts have said the waste material should have been cleaned up within 24 hours and was particularly dangerous because it had been broken up.

But instead council contractors refused to touch the dangerous corrugated asbestos sheets when they visited the alley – where children regularly play – in early August.

The council, finally arranged for the sheets to be collected on Friday after being contacted by the Croydon Guardian and MP Richard Ottaway.

The abestos sheets were not collected for six weeks after being dumped

Furious residents are now considering complaining to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The council apologised and blamed “miscommunication” for the delay, which it admitted was “clearly alarming”.

More than 4,500 people a year are thought to die from asbestos-related diseases, caused by the inhalation of dangerous fibres.

It is understood a renegotiation of the contract between the council and the contractor is partly being blamed for the situation.

Contractors only collected a pile of harmless building waste thrown into the alley, where children regularly play, which connects Westleigh Avenue and Chipstead Valley Road, when they first visited.

Dad-of-two Colin Jakeman, 36, of nearby Chipstead Close, said: “Not everyone knows what asbestos looks like. It can be really nasty stuff.

“It has been there for the best part of two months – it is not like the council can plead ignorance. It is a public health hazard – there are drains, kids play there and everyone is still using the alley.

“The council were called and came out and cleared all the rubbish – everything except the asbestos. They obviously recognised it as asbestos and said ‘oh no, we’re not touching that’ and left it.”

Judi Yates, 68, of Westleigh Avenue, said: “There are a lot of children along this road, as well as pregnant mums.

“It can be really dangerous, especially when you have got big trucks trundling over it.

“I feel the council have been negligent. We made that many phonecalls and they didn’t seem to be do anything.”

Colin Jakeman with son Nathan and parents-in-law Judi and Richard Yates

Mrs Yates said a council call handler had told her the authority’s contract with its hazardous waste disposal firm had expired and not been replaced.

Another resident, Mario Celiberdi, claimed he had contacted the council several times a week before the asbestos was collected.

A council spokesman denied it had let the contract lapse, but admitted a review of the contract had been “one of a number of factors” in delaying the collection.

Tony Whitson, chairman of the Asbestos Victim Support Groups Forum, said the type of asbestos dumped was usually a low-level danger but could become “like a bottle of poison” when broken.

He said: “All asbestos can be dangerous, so it has got to be treated seriously.

“If asbestos sheets are left they are vulnerable to damage – either by children or anyone else – and that creates a problem.

“It is like a bottle of poison. Leave the top off the bottle, you’re fine – take it off, you’re in trouble. When asbestos is broken and damaged the fibres can be released.

The asbestos sheet were broken, making them more dangerous

“The reprehensible thing about the council in this case is to leave it there. They should deal with it expeditiously, within 24 hours. It is unacceptable.”

Margaret Sharkey, spokeswoman for London Hazards Centre, said: “It is not the heaviest industrial exposure, but there is no safe level and if you were in the vicinity you could have breathed in the fibres.

“It is dangerous and people are right to be worried, especially because kids are more likely to develop the illnesses.”

A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “Unfortunately, miscommunication between officers and the contractors led to this flytipping not being removed as quickly as it should, and for this we apologise.

“We can confirm that it has now been safely disposed of.”


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Anger over asbestos left in street for six weeks by 'negligent' council

Experts' concerns over asbestos dump plans

EXPERTS in geology and hydrology do not believe a Chew Valley quarry is an appropriate location for an asbestos dump.

The witnesses for an action group were giving evidence on the second day of an inquiry into proposals to dump thousands of tonnes of asbestos in Stowey Quarry yesterday.

  1. stowey

    Campaigners at a previous Stowey Quarry protest

The Stowey Sutton Action Group oppose the application made by quarry owner Larry Edmunds.

Bath and North East Somerset Council refused permission for the dump, prompting the inquiry at Fry’s Conference Centre in Keynsham.

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Geologist Gareth Thomas told Government planning inspector Brian Cook that analysis of land next to the quarry showed added weight from landfill could pose the potential for a landslip.

He said if the quarry was used for landfill there would be “significant potential for slope instability” on adjacent land.

“If you add material to the top of the slopes you could trigger a landslip,” he said.

He also said changes in the ground water makeup of the quarry – for example if material blocked drainage from rocks at the site – could also trigger instability.

Meanwhile, hydrologist Dr Kay Boreland told the inquiry she had concerns about the risk of contamination of ground water at the site.

She explained that although asbestos fibres are not soluble, they could still be “transported in suspension” and find their way into ground water stores.

She explained that the limestone rock surrounding the quarry was saturated with water and that the dump would be “completely reliant” on an engineered liner to stop any leakage running into ground water.

Ms Boreland explained that it was “generally accepted” that no landfill or any liner could be 100 per cent secure.

“This is not a suitable site for hazardous waste,” she said.

“Typically in this country, asbestos waste is disposed of at sites where ground and ground water conditions make them suitable.

“In my opinion there is too great a risk to put hazardous materials into this site.”

The inquiry earlier heard from the Environment Agency which dropped its objections to the proposal after Mr Edmunds successfully made a change to his application on Tuesday.

He originally wanted to dump “stable non-reactive hazardous waste”, as well as inert waste and asbestos, but has now taken this out of his plans.

Barbara Keenan, from the Environment Agency, only had concerns regarding the “stable non-reactive hazardous waste” – which can include leachable substances and organic content – but not asbestos polluting ground water at the site.

The inquiry will next sit on October 3 and 4 when Mr Cook will hear from expert witnesses supporting the plan put forward by the quarry owner.

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Experts' concerns over asbestos dump plans

Plan to dump asbestos in old quarry is under scrutiny

A PUBLIC inquiry which will decide whether thousands of tonnes of asbestos and other waste can be dumped in a Chew Valley quarry has begun.

Thousands of local residents opposed the plan and there was concern that the waste could contaminate streams which feed into Chew Valley Lake, which provides Bristol’s drinking water.

  1. 15299000

    Some of the people who are protesting against the possible dumping of asbestos in Stowey Quarry

Bath and North East Somerset Council refused permission for Stowey Quarry to be used as a dump, prompting the quarry’s owner Larry Edmunds to appeal.

This triggered the inquiry chaired by Government planning inspector Brian Cook at Fry’s Conference Centre in Keynsham.

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More than 4,000 people signed a petition against the scheme.

Their concerns include the implications of large quantities of asbestos being transported across the area and dumped in the quarry, as well as contamination to the water supply.

The inquiry got off to a slow start yesterday when Mr Edmunds proposed an amendment to his application.

His original application included dumping “stable non-reactive hazardous waste” as well as asbestos and inert waste into the quarry.

His amended proposal was to no longer dump this kind of waste – which includes leachable substances and organic content – but still to dump asbestos and inert waste.

Mr Edmunds’ legal representative, Vincent Fraser, explained that his amended proposal would mean objections from the council and the Environment Agency about the possible danger to the water supply from hazardous waste would no longer be relevant.

A legal representative for the council confirmed it would no longer be opposing the appeal if the amendment was accepted by the inspector.

Paul Stookes, representing Stowey Sutton Action Group, said residents would continue to be against the application, as they still had concerns about asbestos and inert waste being dumped in the quarry.

Mr Cook agreed to allow the amendment to the proposal, but refused to grant Mr Edmunds’ representatives an adjournment, which they wanted so that they could gather further evidence.

However, Mr Cook was told that one of the key witnesses giving evidence for Mr Edmunds was unable to attend the inquiry on Thursday, currently scheduled to be its final day.

Mr Cook said he would go ahead but warned that if the inquiry ran over two days he may not be able to complete it until November.

It would then mean that a decision would not be known until April.

Opening submissions were heard yesterday from Mr Fraser and Mr Stookes.

Mr Fraser told the inspector: “Mr Edmunds’ proposal is now to dump asbestos and inert waste into Stowey Quarry.

“It is a former quarry in need of restoration and asbestos waste can only be dealt with via landfill – this is an appropriate location for the deposition of that type of waste.

“What the action group hasn’t established is that the proposal would change the position that already exists.

“Mr Edmunds has already got planning permission to dump certain kinds of waste in the quarry and doesn’t believe this application would cause any additional impact.

“It is not accepted that objectors raise any issue that is relevant to the determination of this application.

“We will be inviting you to conclude that this is an application that should receive planning permission.”

Mr Stookes then outlined the objections of Stowey Sutton Action Group.

He said even though hazardous waste had now been taken out of the equation, there were still concerns surrounding the dumping of asbestos in the quarry and what effect this would have on water supply.

He said residents still had concerns regarding the stability of hillsides surrounding the quarry, which belong to a third party, and were worried about noise, dust and light pollution from the site and the “unacceptable and adverse” effect it would have on residents in the area.

Other concerns surrounded public footpaths and ecology.

The inquiry is due to continue today, when both sides will give evidence.

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Plan to dump asbestos in old quarry is under scrutiny