Give the poison plot holders a blood test, says MP Linda

MP Linda Riordan and coun Dave Draycott met with Milner Royd Allotment holders to discuss ground contamination issues.'Mearclough, Sowerby Bridge

MP Linda Riordan and coun Dave Draycott met with Milner Royd Allotment holders to discuss ground contamination issues.'Mearclough, Sowerby Bridge

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THE plight of allotment holders whose veg has been contaminated with poisons is being taken up by Halifax’s MP.

Linda Riordan wants to meet the chief executive of Calderdale Council, Owen Williams, about Milner Royd allotments, Sowerby Bridge, where high levels of arsenic and lead have been found in produce.

She said plot holders had told her they had been feeding vegetables to their children and that the youngsters had then not been well.

“The real issue is the safety issue. I think there should be blood tests offered for everyone,” she said.

Mrs Riordan and Calderdale councillor for Sowerby Bridge David Draycott visited the 28-plot site on Saturday to meet the gardeners.

They told the politicians they had spent hundreds of pounds and thousands of hours working on the site and estimated a well-managed plot could produce £1,000 worth of produce that they had now been told not to eat.

As reported by the Courier, a report commissioned by Calderdale Council in 2005 revealed poisons had been found in the soil at the allotment site. But the allotment holders were only told their vegetables could be contaminated a few weeks ago.

Mrs Riordan said she was concerned that this information could have been gathered by council officers and not passed on to councillors.

In a statement, Calderdale Council’s head of housing and environment Mark Thompson said: “It is important that we take an open and transparent approach in all our dealings with the allotment holders at Milner Royd.

“I will be writing to all of them to explain the latest position, what the council is doing now and what action we may decide to take in future.

“The council did carry out some soil testing in the area in 2005, but this did not include the cultivated area of the allotment itself.

“However, the council now accepts that the 2005 report has implications for the allotments and apologises to those allotment holders who were not informed about the 2005 report.”