Wind power on roofs

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                   Structural design ideas

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Ecological design features

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                           Project team & contributors to
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BFF 03/05
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 Contaminated land officers have joined planning,
 Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency
 and primary care trust representatives and specialist
 consultants to find remediation solutions for a ‘grossly
 contaminated’ factory site.
 The working group has been formed in response to
 Countryside Properties’ application to build 650 houses
 plus offices and community facilities at the former
 Turner and Newall asbestos factory, Rochdale. The
 application, filed last December, is held in abeyance for
 failing to fully investigate contamination of the site.
 Planners have divided the 72 acres into an area of
 opportunity, based on the footprint of the old factory,
 and adjoining woodland. The HSE says there are
 hotspots of up to 100 per cent asbestos contamination
 in dumps in the woods but the application does not
 include the wooded area.
 Surface contamination including visible asbestos,
 contaminated rubble from demolished buildings and
 asbestos in remaining buildings complicate the situ-
 ation, not to mention former coal mines, at least one
 filled with asbestos.
 Rochdale MBC’s chief planner Ken Smith said there
 were questions about the methodology as well as
 the extent of the land investigations. ‘We didn’t have
 the specialist knowledge within the council to be able
 to properly assess the planning application,’ he said.
‘Even if we felt the extent of investigation had been
 dealt with we’d still look for specialist advice.’
 The council drafted in contaminated land consultants
 Atkins Global this April to analyse relevant risk assess-
 ments and best practice. Contaminated land officer
 Mark Brown said: ‘We need strong technical back up.
 No-one’s made a decision that it’s impossible.
‘It’s not the level of contamination it’s the level of risk to
 those who use it. The whole issue is about adequately
 understanding the site to make an assessment of the
 actual risks.’ The consultants are expected to report
 next month.
 HSE principal inspector Anna Bliss, of the Greater
 Manchester construction team, said the last attempt
 to improve the site had not succeeded: ‘Because it was
 so steep it was very difficult work,’ she said. ‘As they
 took some off the surface more was coming through.
‘It’s not helpful to dig around, what we need is the big
 solution. At the moment we’re not able to put people’s
 minds at rest but we’re working towards it.’
 Sheila Will, Rochdale PCT’s director of public health,
 added: ‘One of the things that makes the site unique
 is that it’s a wild environment, and how we manage
 that is really important. We must not increase the risk.’
 Marie-Claire Kidd

Working group meeting the
press at Rochdale MBC.

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