Ford to meet Minister to discuss Antrim asbestos handling

ALLIANCE South Antrim Assembly member David Ford is to meet Environment Minister Angela Smith tomorrow (Tuesday) morning to discuss opposition to plans for an asbestos handling station in Newpark.

Along with Mr Ford will be members of Antrim Community Forum who have concerns about the potential site in Antrim town.

Mr Ford, who is also lobbying on behalf of Crumlin residents opposed to an asbestos treatment site in their village, stated:

“Not only is Alliance campaigning for past victims of asbestos, like workers in Harland & Wolff who contracted cancer while fitting ships with insulation, but we want to ensure that people are protected in the future.

“There is no doubt that people in Antrim are highly concerned about the possibility of an asbestos handling station in Newpark. Asbestos-related cancer has killed thousands of people in Northern Ireland, and the public has a right to be concerned.

“There is no strategic approach to the handling of special waste in Northern Ireland. The Department has failed to take action itself, has failed to give a lead to local councils and is now entirely dependent upon the private sector coming forward with specific proposals for individual sites.

“This has resulted in the present situation that communities affected by proposals in areas like Newpark and Crumlin are having to fight against a presumption that there must be some facilities in NI and current planning applications are the only proposals in existence.

“I believe there are very valid and serious concerns about handling asbestos so closely to population centres, and that they need to be addressed by the Minister.”

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