Asbestos found by Letchworth play area

A WOMAN has hit out at a council for not removing asbestos pipes which were illegally dumped by a children’s play area more than three weeks ago.

Diane Brandon, of High Avenue in Letchworth GC, came across the toxic substance near Hillbrow play area in the town when walking her dog two weeks ago but, despite reporting it to North Herts District Council (NHDC) straight away, nothing has been done to remove it.

Mrs Brandon, who told The Comet that her 58-year-old husband Michael, a former builder, is dying of an asbestos-related illness, said another passer-by she’d spoken with had also reported it before her.

NHDC confirmed that they were first made aware of the asbestos - extensively used as a building material in the UK from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s - on Friday, July 22.

Warning signs about the substance, which can cause serious diseases if disturbed fibres are inhaled, have been placed around the site but the 57-year-old said this isn’t enough.

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“It’s been there for three weeks now and if children get hold of it then it could seriously damage their health in 30 to 40 years’ time,” she said.

“I think it’s disgraceful the council have got to get people there straight away with specialist gear, if that’s the way to go, and take it away. And these people who have dumped it want catching.

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“My husband is dying because of asbestos and he’s got between one and five years to live. It’s so lethal that they’ve got to pick it up with special gear on. If they know what it’s like why is it taking so long to do something?

“Children are off school now and at first I didn’t know what it was so how will they? They’ve put up signs but children won’t take any notice of that.”

Cllr Peter Burt, NHDC portfolio holder for environment, said: “Because of the risk of moving items containing asbestos we have had to employ a specialist company to remove the materials from the site, and this will take place tomorrow (Thursday).

“We apologise for any inconvenience or anxiety this may have caused to residents, however we do have to ensure this job is carried out safely by specialist contractors. We would like to reassure people that if left untouched the materials do not present any risk to human health.

“The council takes fly-tipping very seriously, and if anyone has any information regarding who may have dumped these items they should contact our enforcement team on 01462 474000.”

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