A message from one of our researchers:
Hello - I hereby confess to being a site administrator and take responsibility for making unconfirmed allegations regarding asbestos being present at the Crosland Moor site. I am still making these unconfirmed allegations, so if anyone (ie. still wishes to sue for defamation, then I'll take the blows willingly. Since taking the sample to Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for testing I have been shocked to realise that if it is indeed asbestos, the stuff is so dangerous that even by my having carrying it in a sealed jar, the risk of any dust remnants being dispersed from the outside of the jar may have jeopardised the health of Greater Manchester too. If the demolition company have been guilty of causing a public health hazard then I have been guilty of extending its potential impact. The university are taking this EXTREMELY seriously and the sample has been impounded by their health and safety experts. I have still had no luck in trying to get the council, the police or even the Health And Safety Executive to act on this matter, so unless MMU test the stuff before incinerating it and inform me of the results I am at a loss as to what further action to take.
What to do if you uncover or damage materials that may contain asbestos - (from Health And Safety Executive) The pictures of asbestos on this page look disturbingly familiar, plus I spoke to a lad who used to work with asbestos before they tightened regulations. He asked me if the stuff crumbled to powder-dust as I touched it, and when I said yes he said "That sounds like asbestos". Better get my clothes to a dry-cleaners where the workers already have asbestosis! ;0) -
quantities of material which is most likely asbestos.
The location of the site is:
St. Luke's Hospital,
The hospital has been closed since 2010 and in the years intervening scavengers have ransacked the site for medical equipment, souvenirs, copper and other materials.
An urban exploration website gives a brief resumé of this:
Actual demolition has been underway for some time, but much material which
resembles asbestos is still present on the site.
The testimony of an unnamed employee of LAR Ltd.(the asbestos removal specialists who were contracted by Professional Demolition Ltd), suggests that LAR Ltd. were not paid for sufficient hours to complete the removal safely.
Apparently the demolition began with the job of removing the asbestos properly having been abandoned part-way through.
Websites such as ehow < http://www.ehow.com/
Most of the buildings at St. Luke's Hospital seem to date from the late 1940's onwards.
Photographs and video footage taken within the site since demolition began clearly prove that material resembling asbestos is drifting around the site willy-
nilly, which is a public health catastrophe if the material is asbestos, since
the St. Luke's site is located within a residential area at a higher altitude than most of the town.
Even if it isn't asbestos, failure to properly secure the site where lightweight debris can easily be carried elsewhere by the wind amounts to airborne flytipping.
A facebook group has been set up with evidence including a photo of a sign
marked "ASBESTOS WASTE TRANSIT ROUTE" -
Warning signs indicating the presence of asbestos have not been spotted on the perimeter of the site, although I understand that regulations dictate indication of asbestos' presence must be publicly visible.
The facebook group "Asbestos at St Lukes" <https://www.facebook.com/
Only a day or two after solicitors from Walker Morris LLP threatened to sue, another friend whose house overlooks the site reported that demolition was halted while workers scrambled around the site trying to hide the material under piles of rubble.
This would only cause the material to break up into particles which will have been spread about by the wind.
I was made a site administrator of the facebook group after I and a fellow activist climbed [ie. trespassed] onto the site to take photos. An unnamed source at the local Examiner newspaper recommended that I repost the photos anonymously on facebook to avoid being taken to court myself.
I have since decided to waive my anonymity and have publicly invited the demolition firm to take me to court, confident that the scandal caused would bring too much scrutiny for them to continue with their reckless and indirectly
On a subsequent visit to the site I risked collecting a sample of the stuff, much of which turned to a powdery dust (similar to that exuded by a puffball
mushroom) as soon as I touched it.
Thus far neither I nor other concerned residents have not been able to lay our hands on an asbestos testing kit, nor have we been able to examine the sample under a microscope.
The sample currently resides at Manchester Metropolitan University, where it has been impounded pending further action according to university protocols.
It is yet possible that a definitive identification will ensue from their endeavours.
Reporting the matter to Kirklees Council has thus far been a waste of time. The first time I phoned them I was told that the material was not asbestos. It seems they had taken the word of the demolition company and neglected to consider evidence to the contrary.
The second time I phoned the local council they said they had no authority to intervene since the land is NHS property.
When I phoned the police they said they have neither the remit nor the capacity to deal with asbestos, which sounds plausible, so instead I looked up the Health And Safety Executive, who seem to have the authority to investigate asbestos contamination on building sites.
I was rather frustrated to find that the HSE website told me to contact my local council, but due to the toxic threat to large swathes of the town in which I live, I have taken the time and effort to write this email to the HSE.
I will send copies to both the Environment Agency and also to Kirklees Council. My local MP and councillors will also be informed.
Please contact me post-haste, to let me know what action you intend to take. At the very least I expect you to conduct a thorough investigation into the building site of the former hospital Professional Demolition Ltd.
This matter has already been dragging on for far too long and local residents are sick of it, perhaps literally, since asbestosis can take anywhere up to 60 years to kill a person.
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Thank you for reading this message