Remediation assessed at landmark BBC ‘Restoration’ site

Shrewsbury-based firm Environmental Simulations International Ltd (ESI) has been contracted by English Heritage and Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council to assess the extent of contaminated land at the Ditherington Flax Mill site prior to its redevelopment.

This impressive Shropshire landmark, known locally as the “Shropshire Maltings”, featured recently on the BBC’s “Restoration” series. As the world’s first iron framed building its preservation is considered a national priority for English Heritage.

Originally used for flax production, the site had been in industrial occupancy for two hundred years prior to the closure of the Maltings in 1987. Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council and English Heritage were keen to preserve and redevelop the architectural landmark. As a first step, ESI have been brought in to investigate the potential pollution of soil and groundwater beneath the site. ESI’s involvement includes an initial assessment of the type and extent of contaminated land as well as an evaluation of the likely risks to human health and the wider environment. Follow up site investigation works are anticipated later in 2004.

Mark Fermor, Managing Director of ESI, said: “This building is a world ‘first’, the forerunner of today’s skyscrapers, it’s amazing to think that it’s here in Shrewsbury. We are very excited to be involved in such a nationally important project, and right on our own door step.”

The original Flax Mill was constructed in 1796, only 13 years after Abraham Derby’s famous Iron Bridge. An iron-framed building was needed to avoid the risk of serious fire associated with the combustible nature of flax dust.

The Flax Mill is currently the subject of a redevelopment master plan led by London-based architect, Feilden, Clegg and Bradley.

ESI is an independent UK consultancy specialising in contaminated land, landfill and water resource work with offices in the US and Italy as well as the main site in Shrewsbury. ESI is the developer and publisher of software such as Groundwater Vistas and the RAM Risk Assessment Model.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie