Site owner says building work is safe

THE owner of a building site in Weston has refuted claims it poses a health risk to nearby residents.

THE owner of a building site in Weston has refuted claims it poses a health risk to nearby residents.

Bristol-based development company, the PG group, has plans to build 23 flats on the area in Atlantic Road South, which has high levels of the potentially toxic substance in the soil.

A report published in 2005 revealed the levels of arsenic are six times higher than recommended safety levels.

More than 40 residents living in the surrounding area held a public meeting to discuss their fears that the chemicals in the soil could be causing health problems, including a high number of cancer cases.

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But the PG group's business development manager, Stuart Gaiger, says they should not be worried.

He said: "Our consulting engineers carried out a detailed analysis of the site, and although the levels of arsenic are slightly above the acceptable levels, they have told us there is no risk to the people living nearby.

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"We have also worked closely with North Somerset Council at all stages of the process so far and it has been supportive of what we are doing."

North Somerset Council's contaminated land officer, Richard Allard, said: "Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, which is often found in soils around the district as well as in the rest of the UK.

"It is therefore, not uncommon to find levels in excess of soil guideline values.

"Construction work, including drilling, has the potential to release dust from the site. "For this reason we have asked the developer to incorporate measures to suppress the dust and undertake monitoring at the boundary of the site.

"The methods include pre-wetting of the ground prior to excavation and damping down or covering stockpiles.

"Once the construction work is complete the soils will be locked beneath the hard standing at the site."

District councillor for Weston's west ward, Andrew Horler, said: "Public health is of utmost importance.

"I believe the correct measures have been put in place, but if any member of the public wants to discuss the matter with me I will be happy to talk to them.

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