Glasgow & West Scotland

'Toxic' chemical found near homes

A potentially harmful chemical has been found near a housing development in Motherwell which is at the centre of residents fears over contaminated land.

North Lanarkshire Council said it had found traces of trichloroethylene, or TCE, close to homes in Watling Street.

Residents have been told there is no immediate risk but further tests will be carried out as a precaution.

Some local people have engaged lawyers over claims contamination is to blame for them falling ill.

Factories and industrial plants, some involved in manufacturing military components, were based near the Watling Street site in the 1940s.

There have been claims that toxic metals, hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials were handled there.

Since the new housing estate was built in the 1990s some local people have blamed their illness on possible contaminated land.

North Lanarkshire Council was carrying out tests on open ground near the development, in response to ongoing concerns, when the TCE was found.

In a letter to residents, the council stated: "It's important to stress that we do not know yet how much of this substance is present on the site, or how far it extends.

"Thus far our findings have found it only on the open ground. There is no reason to believe, therefore, that it presents any immediate risk to you."

At a public meeting on Monday night, the council said a period of test drilling in the area would be extended by at least 14 weeks.

Collins Solicitors' senior partner Des Collins, who is representing some local residents, said local people attending the meeting were angry with the council's explanations.

"It was apparent that there is a clear lack of trust between the council and the local residents in Motherwell, owing to an absence of any transparency in what the council is doing," he said.

"The residents seemed both unhappy and angry with the information provided and on any basis they were dissatisfied by all responses received."

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