Eling Wharf Contamination

Environment Agency - contamination issue
Environment Agency

I have been pressing hard for the public to have access to plans to clean up or otherwise effectively deal with the serious contamination issues at Eling wharf, Totton.

I opposed a decision by New Forest District Council not to officially declare the site as contaminated, even though it is, in fact, one of the most contaminated sites you will find anywhere in the country, with significant quantities of highly toxic chemicals, including arsenic, found to be present and leeching out beyond the boundaries of the wharf site itself.

The Conservatives refused to accept my assertion that it was better to formally designate the site as contaminated, saying that they preferred to work with the (then) owners, Burt Bolton’s to get the site cleaned up.

No action was taken for several years and it is only now, with the site having been sold and purchased by the new owners, Associated British Ports, that action is being taken.

I told members of the Environmental Protection Liaison Committee today that it isn’t a purely private matter between the site owners, District Council and Environment Agency.

This is a matter of wider public interest and it should made possible for anyone to visit a website and see what plans are in place for progressing and dealing with the issue.

The officers seemed to think that it was sufficient for ABP to provide a newsletter to local residents, but I challenged this, maintaining that the District Council (and Environment Agency) has a public duty to make information more widely available to anyone concerned about the issue.

I hope that my plea will be actioned.

Whether you are a contractor, having to dig up roads near to the site, a local fisherman or simply somebody that cares about the local environment, you shouldn’t be having to rely on the site owner deciding when and what to tell you, it should be publicly available information.

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