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Copyright Mick Coughlan 2011

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The Campaign for the protection of Copley village and The Sowerby Bridge/Copley valley.
The Copley Village and Valley Environment Protection Community Action Group.
In the surveys commisioned by Calderdale MBC in 2005 it was noted that the Milner Royd Allotments test pits contained high levels of chemicals hazardous to health. Incredibly the public servants who examined these results decided not to inform the allotmenteers.

It was only through the work of members of the public that these folk were alerted to the possible dangers of the veg they were cultivating and eating. The allotmenteers had to request that their crops were re-tested, at least one of them has had to seek blood tests for himself and his family.

Eventually in May 2011 Calderdale’ MBC’s Environmental Health Officers instructed the allotmenteers not to eat any of their produce until further notice.

Tests showed that Kale from the site had up to 190 times more lead that would be allowed in Kale bought from a supermarket, plus almost four times the acceptable level of Arsenic. Up to 20 hydro carbons were found in some or all of the samples.

A statement from the allotment group said: “Plot holders pay rent to the Council, put in a great deal of work on their land, and are economically dependent on their produce. This is particularly true of the families with children. However children are most at risk from contaminated land.

“The Council needs to undertake a systematic assessment of the allotments. If they are not
suitable for food production, they will need to take action to provide plot holders with suitable allotments.”

Head of the Chemical and Biological species at Huddersfield University Dr Roger Dewsbury said the results were worrying.
“There are things that are thought to be dangerous.

“Hydrocarbons are suspected carcinogens but we just don’t know.”

He said research into hydro-carbons was continuing.
“People are constantly researching hydro-carbons because there’s concerns about them being in the environment.”
He said some research had linked lead poisoning to brain damage in children.

Calderdale MBC’s Scrutiny Panel met on the 15th June 2011 to discuss a report about the samples taken for testing. Read the report here.

Calderdale MBC’s press release.
Members of Calderdale Council's Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel are to discuss their concerns about Milner Royd allotments.
Calderdale Council advised allotment holders not to eat vegetables grown at the Milner Royd site in Sowerby Bridge after Council tests found the vegetables contained high doses of arsenic, lead and hydrocarbons.

The land, which is close to a former landfill site, is owned by Calderdale Council.

Now, Scrutiny Panel Members will discuss what is being done to address the problem and what can be done to make sure it doesnt happen again - either at Milner Royd or any of Calderdales other allotments.

Scrutiny Panel Chair, Cllr. David Hardy, says:

   "It is important to find out the source of the contamination and what can be done to stop it".

   "We also need to discuss how we can prevent this happening again and how we will monitor sites like this across the borough".

   "People are concerned about this issue and it right that Scrutiny discusses the matter and looks at ways to ensure that we prevent this sort of thing happening in the future".