ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk and council leader Richard Farnell have won a Government commitment to help clear up the toxic legacy of the former Turner Brothers Asbestos works.
Mr Danczuk and Cllr Farnell held a “very productive” meeting with Environment Minister Rory Stewart about decontaminating the site which was once home to the largest asbestos factory in the world.
After the meeting, Mr Stewart confirmed that the Government and the Environment Agency will work with Rochdale Council to resolve the long standing problem.
Asbestos production at the 38 hectare site ceased in the 1990s and the premises have been completely empty since 2008.
In recent years, buildings on the site have been a frequent target for vandals and arsonists, prompting fears that contaminated asbestos material could be released into the air.
A full site survey, part funded by Rochdale Council, is due to take place later this year to determine what risks the site poses to public health.
Once this work is completed an Environment Agency asbestos specialist will analyse the report and Mr Danczuk and Cllr Farnell will meet with Mr Stewart again to discuss the next steps.
Mr Danczuk said: “It was a positive and very productive meeting.
“Between myself, Cllr Farnell and the Minister we now have a team which is determined to solve this problem and in total agreement over what needs to be done.
“This has been a long standing issue for our town but sadly previous Councils have ignored the problem and done nothing to find a solution.
“Under the Coalition Government, it took eight months for Mr Stewart’s Lib Dem predecessor, Dan Rogerson, to respond to our request to help and in the end no progress was made.
“It is important to stress that we are still a long way off a resolution but this is certainly a step in the right direction.”
Cllr Farnell said: “The former TBA site is an ongoing concern for the council and one we take very seriously indeed.
“Rochdale residents deserve peace of mind and reassurances that the area is safe. We will continue to work hard to achieve just that.”