Eye: Fears are raised over asbestos landfill plan

Aerial photo from 2006: Biffa's landfill site at Eyebury Quarry, Eyebury Road, Eye. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET
Aerial photo from 2006: Biffa's landfill site at Eyebury Quarry, Eyebury Road, Eye. Photo: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET
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A BID to dump asbestos in a quarry near Peterborough has raised fears that the city could become the “country’s dustbin”.

The application, submitted to Peterborough City Council planners by waste giant Biffa, would see them add the controversial mineral to the items dumped at their landfill site at Eyebury Quarry, in Eyebury Road, Eye.

It comes just days after the Court of Appeal upheld the decision made by the Government to allow Augean to dump low-level radioactive waste at its East Northants Resource Management Facility near King’s Cliffe.

Biffa’s proposal is part of an application made to both the council and the Environment Agency that, if granted, would also see the life of the site extended until at least the end of 2021.

There are currently no places that accept asbestos in Peterborough but there are a number of sites across the United Kingdom that do.

However the proposal to dump asbestos at the site has been strongly rejected by Eye Ward councillor David Sanders, who has fears about its effects on the surrounding area.

He said: “I am very concerned that taking in asbestos, just after having to accept having radioactive waste down the road, will turn us into the country’s dustbin.

“I am not an expert in asbestos but I am aware of the concern a lot of people have about it and there are very serious fears such as it could get into the water table.

“Asbestos is a step too far and I think people in my area would mostly agree with that.

“I am happy to talk to any outside expert but I will take some persuading, as I feel this would be very incompatible with the area.”

Duncan Wright, Biffa Eye landfill manager, moved to calm any fears about health and safety prompted by the possible addition of asbestos to materials dumped at the site.

He said: “Biffa has agreed to submit a planning application to add asbestos to its landfill licence at Eye.

“This application is currently with the planning team at Peterborough City Council for consideration.

“The health and safety of both our employees and the local community and environment is of the utmost concern to us.

“Should the application be successful, any asbestos on site will be treated in an appropriate and safe manner.

“All necessary precautions will be taken to ensure that landfilled asbestos does not pose any risk.”

However, one outraged local resident who emailed the ET newsroom also expressed opposition to the proposal.

It said: “More money for Biffa, more junk for Peterborough. This is all added to the noise and the smell and the flying plastic from the rest of the rubbish.”

A public consultation about the application lasts until January 25.

It will be discussed at the Planning and Environmental Protection Committee at 1.30pm on February 7.