Toxic land - decision due this month

PUBLISHED: 13:44 20 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:52 04 May 2010

COUNCIL officers are expecting to hear by the end of the month if their bid for Government cash to help five families living on Littleport s toxic land has been successful. If their grant application wins approval they could get around £345,000 and start

COUNCIL officers are expecting to hear by the end of the month if their bid for Government cash to help five families living on Littleport's toxic land has been successful.

If their grant application wins approval they could get around £345,000 and start work by the end of October.

East Cambridgeshire District Council has already agreed to pay up to £370,000 to carry out remediation work on 26 properties in Old School Close and Ponts Hill affected by the contamination of cancer-producing chemicals believed to have come from an old gasworks on the site.

Six companies have tendered for the work and council officers have instructed structural engineers to undertake surveys to protect properties while work is carried out.

They are also drawing up agreements between the council and residents covering rights and responsibilities for each party, including the fixed payment of £200 to cover the reinstatement of plants in gardens, after the work is completed.

But two residents have said they are not interested in the remediation work which would involve digging out and dumping contaminated soil.

Council officers are hoping the five worst affected homes will be covered under the Environmental Protection Act and a bid for grant money has been submitted to the Department of Food and Rural Affairs.

Council chief executive John Hill said: "We have been involved in an ongoing dialogue with DEFRA and we have had some very positive feedback through the whole process.

"We would expect initial approval by the end of September. This is a complex issue involving substantial amounts of money.

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