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Bishop’s Cleeve: Toxic HotSpot

Wingmoor Farm hazardous landfill site, Bishop’s Cleeve, has been selected to represent the UK on a map of toxic waste “hot spots” around the world.

Download – Map of toxic waste “hot spots” around the world [PDF]

The creators say this map “presents a range of examples from every continent where Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in solid wastes present risks to human health and the environment.”

The map will be presented in Geneva this week (4-8 May) when the 4th conference of the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) is held. The Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from these chemicals

POPs accumulate in the environment and cannot be broken down. DDT has been found in the bloodstream decades after it was banned, even in communities where it was never used. This is a particular concern during pregnancy.

Incineration of waste is one the major creators of dioxins and furans, members of the “dirty dozen” worst POPs.

SWARD’s consultant Alan Watson, Public Interest Consultants, will be presenting the map created by the International Persistent Organic Pollution Elimination Network (IPEN) yesterday (6th May).

Alan Watson said:

Wingmoor Farm is a major dioxin hotspot – comparable with many of the worst contaminated sites around the world. The Stockholm Convention promised to eliminate these extremely dangerous chemicals and the Government should make urgent steps to honour that commitment.

Campaign group SWARD were not surprised to receive the news that Wingmoor Farm had been highlighted. Spokeswoman Barbara Farmer said:

This is shocking news for local residents. SWARD has said for years that dumping waste full of these toxins so close to our homes is a risk to our health. Now that view is being supported at an international level.

The official website of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are a group of chemicals that are very toxic and can cause cancer and other adverse health effects. POPs are persistent in the environment and travel vast distances via air and water. POPs are organic chemical compounds which bioaccumulate in animals and humans. These pollutants are primarily the products and by-products of human industrial processes.

  • Incinerator Air Pollution Control residues, containing dioxins and furans, from all over the UK are landfilled at Wingmoor Farm.
  • Only 12 sites in the UK are permitted to accept this waste.
  • Planning consent for Grundon’s landfills at Wingmoor Farm expires on 12th May 2009. Grundon intend to apply for a further 20 years.

One thought on “Bishop’s Cleeve: Toxic HotSpot

  1. Shlomo

    As Alan Watson points out:

    Bishop’s Cleeve is unique because it has been by far the largest single repository for the most hazardous and contaminated ashes from incinerator in the UK over the past decade. A 2002 Environment Agency survey, for example, showed that between 1996 and 2000 there were 157,099 tonnes of these hazardous wastes dumped at the Wingmoor landfill site – just over half of the national total. The remainder was distributed between 17 other sites. [Environment Agency (2002). Solid Residues from Municipal Waste Incinerators in England and Wales A report on an investigation]

    The dioxin contamination of this ash, assuming an average of 2500 ng I-TEQ/kg [Ref Macleod below] would be about 400 g TEQ. This can be compared with the UK declared total annual releases of dioxin for the Stockholm Convention of 348 g I-TEQ/year (based on 2004). [DEFRA (2007). National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland April 2007]

    Modelling by the Environment Agency and others indicate that some of those dioxins are escaping from the site. Macleod and co-workers estimate that the “average daily human exposure to the critical receptor [a female child aged 0 – 6] was estimated to be 0.8pg TEQ/kg bw/day, is twice the health criteria value derived for dioxins”. This was known before 2002 but no action was taken. Publication of the research was delayed until 2006 – but still no action has been taken. [Macleod, C., R. Duarte-Davidson, et al. (2006). “Modeling human exposures to air pollution control (APC) residues released from landfills in England and Wales.” Environment International 32: 500–509.]

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