Who are the experts over clean up?

ONCE again, John Gower (COTEP) writes advising that the clean up operation on the Avenue site is putting the general public at risk from pollution (Times Talk, January 6).

To many people who live close to the site, as I do, John is well on the way to being labelled as little more than a ‘self appointed scare monger’, who appears to be totally against any work being done on the site.

I ask one basic question to John... what are your qualifications or training to appoint yourself as spokesman for local residents?

I do worry about this, as John stated in his recently published letter, that by just looking at the output from the desorption plant tower, it was apparent that it was more than just steam being emitted. Really?

How can he tell with such authority?

I have visited several of the open meetings at the Avenue site and spoken to the staff there about what is being done, and what the safeguards and controls are. There has never been any attempt by anyone to hide the fact that this is a very polluted site, hence the large sum of money that has been allocated to address it.

As with any kind of situation like this, there can never be a 100 per cent guarantee that there will not be some degree of risk of unwanted material escaping.

So what are the options ? To do nothing at all is definitely not one, as has already been widely recognised.

Does John Gower know of a better or more practical way to deal with this problem, if so has he shared it with anyone?

I was at a recent presentation where the representatives of the clean up organisations explained that tests of the atmosphere in Chesterfield town centre showed significantly higher levels of pollution from road traffic than had been recorded so far at the Avenue site during the current operations.

There is pollution everywhere, so I would say to John Gower – by all means retain an interest in what is being done at the Avenue site, but please maintain a sense of realism about it all, and let them get on with the job without the scaremongering, unless you have irrefutable evidence that things are going wrong.

A WINGERWORTH RESIDENT

Name and address supplied