Wisbech Canal to be inspected for pollution

WISBECH Canal is to be inspected due to pollution fears.

Residents might have to surrender their homes to investigation because of worries an ex-landfill site could be spewing toxic chemicals.

Environmentalists have labelled the site a top priority because waste dumped in the ground in the 1960s and 1970s could be escaping into gardens, houses and water supplies.

Letters have today (Monday, June 7) been sent to 1,100 properties that could be affected by contaminated land warning people to wear gloves in the garden and not to let children play with the soil.

Laura Bradley, from Fenland District Council, said: “Our main motivation is to protect the environment.”

And Dave Robson, principal officer for environmental quality at West Norfolk Council, admitted: “This has always been high on our priority list.”

However he said: “There will be a whole lot of misconceptions about what is there. We want to put those to bed.”

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The five-mile stretch of land between Wisbech and Outwell was used as a landfill site more than 40 years ago after the canal was abandoned in 1926.

It was covered over when the rubbish dumping stopped but environmental officers worry that changes in the geology and make up of the land could have caused waste to spread further.

As a result Fenland and West Norfolk councils carried out background research before applying to the Government for a �50,000 grant.

They have appointed ESI Ltd to dig into the soil and check gas levels in the ground. Depending on what they find, they might want to inspect people’s gardens.

Environmentalists will report back in November to tell people whether the land is safe.

Drop in sessions are being held for residents at Outwell Village Hall on Monday, June 21 and The Blacksmiths Arms, in Elm, the following day, between 5pm and 7pm.