Chris Davies MEP (right) and Paul Rowen MP (left) view destroyed woodland
Standing in front of security mesh fencing with a sign saying “Danger- Keep Out”, Mr Davies viewed the carcases of mature broadleaf trees that remain strewn across the hillside. The planning application submitted by the developers, headed by Countryside Properties, have this area, known as Plot 14, earmarked for facilities such as a children’s nursery in the shadow of the former asbestos factory complex.
Last year, Forestry Commission officers were stopped from entering the destroyed woodlands to gather evidence for a criminal prosecution under the Forestry Act. The prosecution file noted asbestos contamination concerns.
Mr Davies also viewed the crushed asbestos factory rubble that has recently been confirmed positive for traces of asbestos by the UK government’s Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) and the Independent testing body the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM).
Chris Davies MEP said:
“The future of the former Turner Brother's Asbestos site is an important one. Any development needs to be handled sensitively and if I can offer any help as the Lib Dem Spokesperson on the Environment and Public Health in Europe I will do."
“I am looking forward to members of the Save Spodden Valley Group coming to the European Parliament”.
Campaign co-ordinator Jason Addy welcomed the visit to the Spodden Valley:
“Mr Davies is his party’s spokesman on the Environment and Public Health. He has taken a keen interest in the Spodden Valley for some time. His questions and comments displayed a clear command of the hard facts and important issues raised by asbestos and contamination.
“Mr Davies has pledged help for research into a range of environmental issues that could affect the Spodden Valley. Immediate assistance is to be given to liaise with the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen regarding soil contamination.
“Given its history and potential contamination issues, the Spodden Valley is a site of international significance. We welcome support from all European Union bodies”.
Dave Phillips spoke to Chris Davies about his concerns for the health of future generations of Rochdalians:
“Cancers caused by exposure to asbestos can take up to 50 years to develop. There must be no further deaths caused by asbestos from the Spodden Valley site”.
At Friday’s site visit, Rochdale MP - Paul Rowen said:
“I am delighted that my colleague in Europe - Chris Davies came to Rochdale to visit the site. There is cross-party consensus on the issue of asbestos at Spodden Valley at all levels – Our Council, Parliament and now in Europe."
Developments at Westminster:
Paul Rowen MP explained that he has written to the Environment Minister - Elliot Morley MP demanding a meeting to discuss the issues associated with the Spodden Valley Site at Government level.
Paul Rowen said:
"We need answers to some very serious questions - we owe it to future generations to investigate any potential problems fully. I will continue to ask questions at the highest level until we have answers."