People are dying of the terminal cancer mesothelioma who were exposed to asbestos 10-50 years ago.
The Communication Workers’ Head of Health & Safety’s clear stand regarding asbestos shows that recent events in the Spodden Valley are of national significance- and may have implications for safety regulations on brownfield building throughout the UK.
Here is the CWU’s press release in full:
24th June 2005
COMMUNICATION WORKERS UNION
Spodden Valley former Turner & Newell Asbestos Textile Factory site:
The Communication Workers Union has welcomed news that the Spodden Valley former Turner & Newell Asbestos Textile Factory site will be raised in the Commons in an adjournment debate tabled by new Rochdale MP Paul Rowen on the question of "Controls on the safe removal of asbestos dumped on landfill and derelict industrial sites".
The 300,000 strong Trade Union which represents Postal and Telecommunications workers has thrown its weight behind the campaign to halt the development of the derelict site which processed Asbestos for over 100 years during which time hundreds of tonnes of Asbestos Dust was dumped on the site and is feared to be heavily contaminated.
CWU National Health and Safety Officer Dave Joyce said "We've expressed our serious concerns to Ministers and local politicians because if the development proceeded, Postal and Telecommunication CWU members would be required to work on the housing development prior to and after construction which would involve our BT members installing and maintaining telecommunications equipment including underground services and our Royal Mail engineers would be expected to install, remove and repair mail pillar boxes and delivery pouch boxes requiring penetration of the soil. Finally of course Postmen and Women would be expected to undertake daily deliveries and collections in the area. A number of older CWU members, former BT and Royal Mail engineers in particular have died from Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung Cancer caused by past asbestos exposure due to contact with Asbestos containing materials in building fabric, ducting and insulation for example so the news of the Spodden Valley development plan was bad news for us because as a Union we are very conscious of the threat to health and life posed by Asbestos and its terrible legacy."