A Wirral community claim they were exposed to a life-threatening hazard for three days after asbestos waste was dumped in an alleyway.
People in the Colwyn Street – Falkland Street area of Birkenhead have accused Wirral Council’s Streetscene department of leaving the hazard uncovered in an area where children play, despite a visit by one of its officers.
A Globe reader who did not want to be identified, said: “Although someone came out to investigate almost immediately and left a warning sign that it was asbestos, they didn’t even take the simple precaution of covering the contents over.
“They merely left a trio of traffic cones linked by tape which, as far as their effectiveness in deterring the attention of kids was concerned, might as well have been party balloons and streamers.”
The resident concerned covered the sack of asbestos with a plastic sheet and added a piece of board as an extra precaution.
He said: “The asbestos waste was dumped in what is , in effect, a public thoroughfare. This situation would be unlikely to go similarly unaddressed in locations such as Meols or Hoylake.
“However for residents of this part of town, three or four days of potential exposure to hazardous and life-threatening industrial waste, seems somehow perfectly acceptable.”
He said the official Health and Safety Executive guidelines for dealing with fly-tipped asbestos underscored his concern about the council’s “wholly inadequate approach to dealing with a potentially hazardous problem.”
The guidelines advise that if the waste is in an inhabited area access should be restricted until its removal; and the material should be covered and dampened to prevent dust being blown about.
Councillor Harry Smith, Wirral Council cabinet member for streetscene and transport services said he was unaware the asbestos waste had not been covered.
He commented: “I don’t think this was very helpful. I will get on to the relevant department as ask for the matter to be pursued as a matter of some haste.”