No common ground in contamination row

NORTH Lanarkshire Council claims there are no significant health risks to residents in the North Motherwell housing estate at the centre of contamination claims.

The council has published the latest results of testing on the former Metropolitan Vickers factory site near Watling Street, but lawyers representing some homeowners refuse to accept the findings.

Last October the council discovered a small amount of trichloroethylene (TCE) at a spot on open land in Forum Place, but says it hasn’t found any other harmful chemicals in the area.

However, eight of the 64 gardens tested and three areas of open ground require further investigation and the results of this are expected at the end of July.

In March Collins’ Solicitors claimed their own testing had unearthed high levels of toluene in the atmosphere, but refused to reveal the amounts or the method of testing used.

As a result the council used soil probes to ascertain the amount of toluene in the ground, but found it fell significantly below established screening criteria.

The council’s environmental health manager, Andrew McPherson, said: “We have found no evidence to date that makes us believe there is a significant risk to health.

“Our advice for the moment is that people on the estate should feel comfortable going about their normal daily routine.”

Collins Solicitors say the council has failed to carry out the testing properly and disputes its findings.

Senior partner Des Collins said: “These are anxious times for the residents in and around Tiber Avenue and Forum Place.

“Not only have they had to wait an additional five months to hear the council’s findings, they then find that these are wholly inconsistent with the initial indications provided by our own independent internal air testing programme.”

Full story in May 29 edition of Times & Speaker