Remediation work planned to remove asbestos from Stratford Riverside

CAMPAIGNS who want to improve the conditions of Lench Meadows in Stratford so that it becomes a local nature reserve are not entirely happy with the measures announced yesterday (Wednesday) to remove asbestos from the site.

In a joint statement, Stratford District Council and Stratford Town Trust listed a number of steps that were being taken to address contaminated land at the site, which is part of the new Riverside project.

The Riverside project photographed last week. (59354172)

The statement read: “Following the discovery of asbestos-containing material on Lench Meadows, expert advice has been sought from environmental and contaminated land specialist, Crossfield Consulting.

“As a result, Ashbee Solutions, a Health & Safety Executive (HSE) approved asbestos removal contractor, conducted a site survey and removed a quantity of what is believed to be asbestos-containing cement fragments.

“Two areas were found to contain a relatively small amount of material. Of these, the area surrounding the butterfly mound contained a higher concentration of cement-bound asbestos fragments, and there was only one only discovery of a partially buried section of what is believed to be asbestos-containing pipe insulation.

The statement adds: “Given the higher prevalence of asbestos-containing material removed from the flat areas between the butterfly mounds, this area is covered with a geotextile separator and 150mm of clean sandy topsoil imported onto the site, as advised by specialists.

Lench Meadows: Photo: Drone Services Looking Down (59354243)
Lench Meadows: Photo: Drone Services Looking Down (59354243)

“This dual-layer geotextile separator is designed to prevent any other material from being brought to the surface by weather or animals. The approved topsoil is nutrient-poor to support the growth of a range of species of wildflowers and plants Once established, vegetation will add an extra layer of protection.

“The butterfly-shaped mound will be extended with clean imported topsoil to a depth of 1.5 meters to cover material believed to be asbestos-containing pipe insulation which has been reburied and dampened in accordance with advice from a specialist.

“After reseeding, the areas will be protected by fencing to allow vegetation to establish.
This will not affect trail access.

Both the council and the trust said they were committed to their goal of creating a local nature reserve. They added that public safety remained their primary concern.

But Richard Price, a senior member of the Friends of Lench Meadows (FLM), told the Herald yesterday that while FLM was delighted that a remediation plan was finally in place, there were still concerns about aspects of it.

He said Paul Nathanail, a soil contamination expert, advised FLM that while the use of ‘geo textile’ under a 150mm clean floor cap on level ground was appropriate, it would not prove not adequate on sloping areas where water was flowing, as it would be vulnerable to erosion.

Mr Price added: ‘It is regrettable that profoundly flawed strategies have been employed throughout this program and, despite numerous warnings from the parties involved, the discovery not only of asbestos but also of a myriad other items hazardous to health (including large amounts of broken items, glass and waste, including medical waste) through negligence, increased costs and uncovered potentially enormous dangers to humans and wildlife.

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