The news that Chew Valley Lake has become a dumping ground for asbestos is a clear a vindication of the need for pure drinking water.
Can residents of the surrounding Somerset area really have peace of mind that their family and loved ones are going to be safe when these deadly silicate minerals have entered the local water system?
Certainly the establishment seems to be unwilling to do anything about it as North East Somerset Council and Bath Council have approved the asbestos dumping proposals.
They will see a staggering 645,000 tonnes of asbestos dumped at Stowey Quarry near Bishop Sutton.
It is no wonder that residents are up in arms – asbestos has proven links to cancer and a variety of respiratory diseases and the proximity of the asbestos dumping to the Bristol water supply is troubling. Bristol Water representatives and parish councillors are also opposing the plans.
They will be among those making up a protest rally which has been organised by the Stop Stowey Quarry Asbestos Landfill Group.
However the council says it has done independent research which shows that the water will not be contaminated by the asbestos dumping. Especially as this is white asbestos which is commonly found in many existing water pipes.
Council spokesman James Hinchcliffe told This is Somerset: “The Environment Agency was fully consulted on the planning application and had no objections.
“We were therefore satisfied that the potential impacts of the proposal on the environment had been fully considered and a refusal of planning permission on these grounds would not have been justified.
“The comments raised by Bristol Water led to additional work being undertaken by an independent hydrogeologist and their findings were reviewed by a hydrogeologist from another company.
“Both reached the same conclusion that the risk to water pollution was considered to be negligible.”
However Bristol Water retorted: “We were disappointed with the planning decision but it has been made. We have made our concerns very clear to all those involved, including the Environment Agency.”
It all comes down to the decision of whether you want to take a ‘negligible’ risk on your health, or whether securing pure water for your family is a decision worth making.by