Residents threatened with legal action over asbestos clean-up

The unsatisfactory state of Britain's pollution liability laws has been highlighted by warnings by Leeds City Council that it may force residents whose homes are contaminated with asbestos to pay for clean-up operations. A survey for the council has confirmed that more than 90% of homes in the Armley area of Leeds contain asbestos - most of it originating from emissions from a former asbestos factory whose owners are denying responsibility for the contamination.

The homes in Armley surround the site of the J W Roberts asbestos factory, which closed in 1958. More than 30 residents whose homes were contaminated by asbestos are now suffering from mesothelioma, a lethal form of lung cancer caused only by the fibre. Their plight, and the property blight in the area, was highlighted in a parliamentary debate in July (ENDS Report 210, pp 24-5 

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