Beryllium provokes fears over development

Fears have been raised that a proposed social housing development could be built on land contaminated with beryllium.

The local MP, businesses and residents have spoken out after a Welsh housing association applied for planning permission for 37 homes on the site.

Pembrokeshire Housing Association wants to develop the site, in Milford Haven, which was formerly owned by Consolidated Beryllium - now called CBL Ceramics, which occupies the neighbouring site.

According to a Pembrokeshire County Council report obtained by the Western Telegraph, an unknown amount of beryllium by-products is buried in trenches around the factory.

Beryllium, a metal used as a hardening agent in alloys and used in nuclear science, can cause cancer or provoke chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

Local MP Stephen Crabb is among those who have voiced concerns about the potential redevelopment of the site.

He told the paper: "Obviously it's not for me to decide this, but from the information I have seen I am uncomfortable about this potential housing development.

"It does place a constraint on the local business. If this does go ahead it will find itself completely encircled with housing. The county council needs to proceed very carefully with this."

The report also includes comments from local people who wrote to the council with their concerns during the consultation period on the planning application earlier this year.

Among them were Barbara Abeles, managing director of CBL Ceramics. According to the Western Telegraph, her letter said there is "potential for contamination which, unless properly investigated, may have adverse consequences for future occupiers of residential properties".

But the report says environmental assessments have confirmed the land is safe and suitable for housing.

Pembrokeshire County Council planners are set to meet in December to make a decision on the application.

Kate Martin



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