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Waste Management: Brofiscin Quarry

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the daily average number of trucks or tankers carrying chemical waste to Brofiscin Quarry between 1965 and 1972; in what solid or liquid form the waste was deposited in the quarry; and what was the total number of days during which the waste was deposited. [HL3204]

This information is not available. The site was operated before duty-of-care legislation applied and the operators were therefore not required to keep such records.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether investigations were conducted by scientists, veterinarians and civil engineers at Brofiscin Quarry between 1968 and 1974; if so, what the reason was for the investigations; which government departments received the reports; and, in each case, how many reports. [HL3205]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When Brofiscin Quarry was last used for the extraction of limestone. [HL3206]

It is known from aerial photography that active quarrying at the site was taking place in 1953. Aerial photographs from 1967 suggest quarrying had ceased by this time.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the acceptability of dumping polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxic wastes in Brofiscin Quarry between 5 December 1969 (when Monsanto informed its management that disposal of contaminated wastes to landfill was no longer acceptable) and 1972 (when dumping in the quarry ceased) was considered by the relevant licensing authorities. [HL3207]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether samples of dust from houses situated in Groesfaen, near to Brofiscin, or from tree bark in the vicinity of the quarry have been collected and analysed; if so, what were the findings; and, if not, whether they would commission such studies. [HL3208]

Neither the Environment Agency nor the local authority has undertaken such sampling or analysis. There are no plans to do so in the immediate future, as neither pathway has been identified as significant in any of the reports commissioned to date.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the joint agreement made on 1 February 1972 between Monsanto and Redland Purle, to which the Government were a party, for the remediation of Brofiscin Quarry was never enforced; and whether this agreement is evidence for a claim against Solutia Incorporated in the current Monsanto bankruptcy hearings. [HL3218]

As this is a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government, I have written to their Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside, Carwyn Jones AM. I will share his response with the noble Countess as soon as it is available, and place a copy in the Library of the House.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the condition of the drums in which some hazardous waste, which included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), was buried in the Brofiscin Quarry is such that long-term toxic effects on human health and the environment are prevented. [HL3219]

The drums in the quarry are buried, and are likely to have been compressed and degraded over time. Monitoring programmes and risk assessments have assumed a worst-case scenario—that the waste mass is not sealed within drums but is free within the quarry void and hence potentially mobile.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether there were any objectors to the planning application for the deposit of wastes in the Brofiscin Quarry made in 1965; if so, who were the objectors; whether there were any specific prohibitions; and what categories of waste were permitted on the site. [HL3223]

The only information available is the planning permission granted by the former Glamorgan County Council to Industrial Waste Disposal (Reclamation) Ltd, dated 20 August 1965. This describes the proposed development as “Disposal of Industrial Waste”.

The conditions specified on the permission are:

tipping operations shall be limited to the filling of the excavated area at the western end of the quarry and the height of the tipping shall not exceed that of the general level of the main quarry floor to the east;

there shall be no interference with and no pollution by debris of any watercourse, stream or ditch in the area; and

on completion of the tipping the surface shall be graded so as to avoid ponding and steps taken to promote plant growth.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the levels of chlorodibenzofuran found in (a) surface water following heavy rains, and (b) ground water in the locality of Brofiscin Quarry and in aquifers fed by sources in that locality. [HL3347]

I understand that no chlorodibenzofurans have been detected in any of the samples collected in and around Brofiscin Quarry, and that these samples consisted of soil, groundwater, surface water and vapour.