EXCLUSIVE: Pitsea councillor is arranging urgent public meeting over asbestos readings at Basildon waste plant

By Charles Thomson in Environment

A WARD councillor for Pitsea North West says he is trying to organise a public meeting following yesterday’s revelation that airborne asbestos fibres had been discovered at a local waste plant.

The asbestos was picked up by air quality monitoring conducted late last year at the Tovi Eco Park centre, but the results did not come to light until this week.

Bin men have been banned from entering the site without respirator masks but had been entering unprotected in the more than one-month gap between the tests being done and the results being known.

Basildon Council leader Phil Turner yesterday said he feared residents close to the plant may have breathed in the fibres.

Essex Council responded that no airborne fibres had left the plant, but councillors in a public meeting last night questioned how the authority could claim to know that.

County Hall only this week learned that tests inside the building had picked up the fibres, by which time the results were more than a month old.

The YA and local councillors have been contacted by residents of the Hovefields caravan site, which is located just metres from the plant.

The residents say they do not believe Essex Council can prove that no fibres have left the building.

The YA has asked Essex Council how it can claim to know whether the microscopic airborne fibres have left the building.

The council has not yet answered.

Ward councillor and Basildon Labour leader Gavin Callaghan said: “We are trying to organise a public meeting where Essex Council can attend and answer the questions which urgently need to be answered.

“I immediately called yesterday for free health checks for all our staff who have been in there since the air quality monitoring and I am continuing to call for that. It needs to happen.”

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