Acorn Analytical Services
In the past few weeks, it’s emerged that plans to develop a derelict site - that was once home to the world’s largest asbestos firm - are expected to be lodged before the end of 2024.
Specialist remediation company ESG Trading Limited, has bought 45-hectares of derelict land which once belonged to the former Turner Brothers Asbestos factory in Rochdale.
It’s not the first time plans have been put in for the site.
Back in 2011, plans to build 600 homes on the site were refused by Rochdale Council after a six-year battle by campaigners who feared people’s health could be put at risk.
Why is the former asbestos firm site controversial?
The site was owned by Turner Brothers Asbestos - later Turner and Newall – which was the world's largest asbestos company.
It owned mines in Canada and southern Africa and factories in the north of England, where the mineral was processed into a spun yarn.
When the Rochdale factory opened in the mid-Victorian era people were unaware of the dangers of asbestos.
A report into Nellie’s case in the British Medical Journal led the Government to hold an inquiry into the effects of asbestos dust which found inhaling asbestos dust was linked to asbestosis.
This helped to lead to the introduction of the first Asbestos Industry Regulations in 1932.
The firm eventually went out of business in 1998 – the year before the use of asbestos was banned completely.
Sadly, Nellie was far from being the last victim to have worked for the organisation.
As late as 2013, an article in the Manchester Evening News about an inquest of another former worker, Mary Gallagher, revealed former Turner Brothers employees made up most of the annual cases of mesothelioma deaths in the Greater Manchester area.
What is expected to happen next with the asbestos firm site?
New owners ESG Trading Limited told the Manchester Evening News they will work with the local council, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive to produce a remediation strategy which ‘exceeds statutory requirements’.
They hope to have the site ‘fully remediated’ and signed off as clean by July 2024 so an outline planning application for a mixed-use scheme can be submitted.
It’s estimated the clean-up operation will cost £20million.
What does this project show us?
This site has only just been taken over by its new owners however the amount of money being discussed and the timeframes they’re talking about shows what a massive undertaking it is to remediate a site which contains asbestos.
This project clearly shows asbestos is a deadly substance which should never be treated lightly.
Asbestos can be found in any property built here before 2000 – if it’s in good condition and it’s managed properly it shouldn’t present a health risk.
If asbestos is accidentally disturbed during routine maintenance, general wear and tear or building work it will put lives at risk.
The first step to managing asbestos is to have an asbestos survey which will identify if you have asbestos, where it is and what condition it’s in.
If you know your organisation needs help to manage its asbestos contact us so we can introduce you to the Acorn Asbestos Antidote.
It’s the UK’s only fully documented and systemised asbestos management process and takes organisations from non-compliance with asbestos law to full compliance.