Residents fight asbestos transfer station planned for North Dane Way, Lordswood
Residents against an
asbestos depot in North Dane Way, Lordswood
by Dan Bloom
More than 300 people have signed a petition against a planned
asbestos depot a few hundred feet from their homes.
Fuming neighbours of the site in Lordswood are backed by Chatham
MP Tracey Crouch, who has campaigned in Parliament for better
rights for asbestos disease sufferers.
Medway has the second-highest death rate in the country, since
the cancer-causing fibres were manufactured in Higham and used in
Now the residents have launched a furious door-knocking campaign
to try to kill off plans for the former council gritting depot at
the southern end of North Dane Way, near the junction with
Debbie and David Hales moved their surveying firm Asbestos First
into the site last year and now want to use it as a waste transfer
They would take in up to 70 tonnes of waste asbestos a week,
double-bagged and stored in locked skips behind a barbed-wire
fence, which would later be moved to bigger tips elsewhere.
THE SILENT KILLER
Asbestos was a popular fireproofing material until long after its links to lung diseases were discovered in the 1930s.
Use of it was banned in 1985 and since then, thousands of construction workers have contracted lung diseases.
The most notorious is mesothelioma, a painful cancer of the inner chest wall that can strike decades after exposure.
Due to the difficulty in removing asbestos, it is usually left undisturbed until work needs to be done because only the dust it gives off is dangerous.
This means builders are constantly faced with the problem of removing asbestos – along with regulations they have to fulfil.
But residents and
ward councillors, more than 50 of whom gathered for a protest on
Saturday, said although the station is 200ft from their homes, it
is not far enough.
Retired nurse Lyn Reed, 64, who lives in nearby Farley Close,
said: "They might do it double-bagged and put into containers, but
where are their vans coming from? Have they got anything on their
tyres when they come in?
"I know people who've died because of asbestos. They worked in
Chatham Dockyard. It is something I think a lot about."
Mother-of-two Annabelle Eales, 19, was one of many who was not
informed of the plan by Medway Council - despite living yards
away in Farley Close.
Talking about asbestos, she said: "It kills, it's dangerous. It
stays on your lungs and kills you. It's a slow and painful
"It should be disposed of in a proper manner and not next to
children's houses or schools.
"If the wind gets hold of that asbestos, it can blow it all over
the Medway area and living right next door to it is really
dangerous. I've never been involved in a campaign like this in my
Mrs Hales, 42, said builders lack somewhere to dump small
amounts of asbestos as Medway’s other site, on the Medway City
Estate, only takes very large deliveries.
A nearby tip in North Dane Way does take asbestos, but Mrs Hales
said commercial deliveries are not allowed.
Debbie and David Hales,
owners of surveying firm Asbestos First
She said: "The only thing we can't do currently is take it out
of a van. Once we become a transfer station the regulations are
almost suffocating and I will be doing it far more safely than is
required at the moment.
"I'm going to be
here every day, so I don't want anything going wrong. It's a
problem that exists and if I'm not going to solve it, who is?
"There are unscrupulous types about and it does get
Chatham MP Tracey Crouch said: "My concern is if there was a
disaster like a fire or a tree falling down on the site, then
actually the residents wouldn't be protected."
A final decision will be taken by Medway Council's planning
committee later this spring.
To find out how to sign the petition, visit the
Facebook campaign page or phone organiser
Tony Maund on 01634 325821.
The deadline for comments is this Thursday –
here and search 12/3046 to have your
Asbestos First is hoping to organise a public meeting this
What do you think? Join the debate below.
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