Edinburgh's 100-year-old toxic waste will be buried under gardens of new homes

Residents say plan is storing up trouble for future
Gillian de Felice is worried about the plansGillian de Felice is worried about the plans
Gillian de Felice is worried about the plans

RESIDENTS fighting a proposed housing development on toxic land say plans to bury the contaminated material under gardens and driveways on the new estate are storing up problems for the future.

Families living near the 100-year-old former waste dump in Livingston were told they would have to stay indoors and keep windows closed as a precaution while lorryloads of toxic material was taken away.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But now they say they have been told housebuilders Cruden plan to retain most of the contaminated soil on the site, beneath certain parts of the development with a protective membrane placed on top.

Mother-of-two Gillian de Felice said: “We were led to believe they were going to remove all the soil completely and we were obviously concerned about that because there were going to be about 500 lorry loads up and down our streets.

“Now the option they’re going with - surprise, surprise the cheapest one - is they’ll only remove a small percentage of it and the rest is going to be the foundations for roads, driveways, lay-bys and gardens.

“They’re going to have this membrane 30-40cm below the surface which means you’ll have to be careful putting in plants or anything like that, and they will tell the owners of the new houses that they won’t be able to have any extensions or conservatories.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But the membrane is only guaranteed for 25 years so what happens then?”

Cruden want to build 18 homes on the land at Tarbert Drive, Murieston, which in 1907-12 was used as a dump for the ash created by the incineration of Edinburgh’s domestic waste. Following an appeal, a planning reporter has said he is minded to allow the development.

Almond Valley SNP MSP Angela Constance said local opposition to the plans remained strong.

“The community have the double whammy of the angst and anger associated with the removal of toxic soils by the lorry load yet most of the toxic soil would remain in the ground.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“When I met with the developers and residents it was clear that the intention is to remove as little of the contaminated soil as possible and this raised many questions about the life expectancy of protective capping and membranes. Residents fear the developers are opting for the cheapest option. Even at this late stage I would urge the developers to do everything possible to maximising public confidence should this development proceed.”

A spokesman for Cruden Homes said their plans had satisfied the relevant authorities and the approach of capping with an anti-puncture membrane was standard practice.

He said removing material minimised lorry movements while capping addressed the issue on the site in a “comprehensive manner”.

He said: “When designed, installed and maintained the geomembrane has a design life of at least 100 years. Beyond this period it will still fulfil its function as an effective puncture resistant separation layer.”