The Committee gave consideration to the report (at pages 182 - 183) as delivered and summarised by the Community Safety and Environment Manager which should be read together with these minutes as a composite document.
The Chair moved and amended the substantive recommendation at paragraph 2 of the report (at page 182) substituting ‘the Chair of this Committee’ with ‘the Vice-Chair of this Committee’ (emphasis added).
Councillor J W Boyce seconded the recommendation as amended.
Councillor J W Boyce enquired as to whether: (i) the legal basis in paragraphs 3.2 and 3.3 of the report (at pages 182 - 183) were correct; (ii) any delay in action taken had compounded the situation; (iii) the associated-costs in respect of assessing the impact to the privately-owned residential properties were to be recovered; (iv) if Severn Trent Water and Network Rail had been duly informed about the potential of land contamination; (v) if the value of the land carriages had been ascertained to ensure the viability of any land charges subsisting against the land; (vi) if the re-sealing of the roof formed part of the clear-up process.
The Community Safety and Environment Manager advised that: (i) the correct legal basis had been identified upon expert advice for a potential prosecution on a full cost-recovery basis; (ii) that rain water in the interim period may have dispersed and, or, washed away the asbestos containing material (ACM) crystallites; (iii) the Council was working closely with the polluter, Public Health England (PHE), The Environment Agency (EA) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to ensure all necessary action is/was being and to be taken; (iv) costs could not be recovered in respect of the assessment; (v) the land carriages were deemed viable and the polluter was considered to be solvent; and (vi) the re-sealing of the roof has been completed.
Councillor L A Bentley enquired as to whether there is/was a sufficient quantity of ACM pollutant in a crystallite air-borne form to pose a risk to public health and, therefore, to justify the allocation and spending of the proposed budget.
The Director of Services/Monitoring Officer and Community Safety and Environment Manager jointly-advised that PHE and the EA had agreed that a health risk did exist to the affected residential properties and that essential testing of the soil was to be undertaken imminently and the land returned to its former position. They advised that the costs were wholly contingent on a full return of the assessment and that the polluter was, at law, responsible for the clear-up and costs thereof. It was said that the recommendation contained in the report sought to put the Council in a position to mitigate and, or take over the clear-up should the polluter be unwilling or unable to do so as is the incumbent responsibility upon local authorities for land contaminations.
The Chair enquired as to whether the land to the rear of the incident site has been assessed.
The Community Safety and Environment Manager advised that the land in question had been assessed and identified as a potentially contaminated site, accordingly.
Members delegate authority to the Community Safety and Environment Manager in conjunction with the Chief Finance Officer and Vice-Chair of this Committee to appoint a licensing specialist asbestos removal expert to undertake clear-up operations to contaminated land to an agreed budget of not more than £100,000 (one-hundred thousand pounds) should this be necessary.
Votes For 9
Votes Against 0