Protest over plans to dump asbestos at Stowey Quarry

Residents opposed to plans to dump potentially hazardous waste in a former quarry have staged a protest march.

Liberal Democrat-run Bath and North East Somerset Council (Banes) has approved plans for asbestos to be dumped in Stowey Quarry.

Campaigners are concerned about the possibility of nearby Chew Valley Lake - which provides drinking water for Bristol - becoming contaminated.

The council said the Environment Agency had raised no concerns.

"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," a spokesman said.

Although the site will be predominately used for white asbestos it could also include the more hazardous blue or brown asbestos.

'Water risk'

The protesters left Chew Valley Lake at 15:30 BST and marched to nearby Stowey Quarry.

Bristol Water said it had objected to the proposal throughout the planning process saying it was "inappropriate".

In a statement the company said: "We consider the proposals result in a material increase in risk to our water resource at Chew Reservoir.

"We will certainly be looking to the relevant authorities, such as the Environment Agency, to provide a suitable monitoring and protection regime for water resources."

The Environment Agency said that it had not been asked for permission to dump the asbestos.

A spokesman said: "Granting planning permission does not imply that a permit will necessarily be forthcoming. At the moment we have received no permit application."

One member of the group said he would be applying for judicial review of the council's decision, unless the plans were dropped.

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