A HAMPSHIRE councillor has blasted plans to bring asbestos storage units to a residential market town.

Tabled to be situated in the Budds Lane industrial estate, Romsey, the containers, which will be able to hold as much as 3650 tonnes of waste, will be a halfway-house for the hazardous material – which experts have proven causes cancer – before it’s transferred to a landfill site to be destroyed.

But Romsey Town councillor Mark Cooper says that it shouldn’t be situated so near to “some of the most concentrated housing in the town”, and the collection and storage of this type of waste should instead be in “isolated, low density locations”.

However, Shield Environmental Services (SES), which currently operates out of the warehouse site, says its storage units will be safe, as the material is double bagged and sealed – to meet United Nations standards.

It added the asbestos had to be stored as dedicated skips for the material are only taken away once full.

Currently the company offers a range of services, including the removal of asbestos from buildings across the country, but the application notes that the stored material will be from jobs in and around Southampton, and will be transported via vans or light goods vehicles.

SES added that it operates a similar facility in Bristol, which an Environment Agency audit shows has no issues.

Nevertheless, councillor Cooper has also raised concern at transporting the asbestos through the market town, claiming that it’s “an imposition too far” on residents as the houses on the routes are “very close to the road”.

Plans are being assessed by Hampshire County Council, and are currently in a public consultation phase. Cllr Cooper said: “Whilst I appreciate that the storage and onward transfer of hazardous waste such as asbestos is seen as ‘safe’ if it is double bagged, the perception of nearby residents will be very different.”

Shield said: “Projects which create very substantial amounts of asbestos, for instance the removal of an asbestos roof from a large warehouse building, have dedicated skips/containers in situ for asbestos, which are taken to landfill when full.

“However, other re-development projects give rise to only one or two sheets or pieces of asbestos. In those instances, SES is called upon to remove it, contain it and take it off site. In that case, it is collected in a van or light goods vehicle. It is those small individually contained amounts of asbestos that this application seeks to store at the site until a sufficient amount has been accumulated in the containers it is stored in, to be taken off to a suitably licensed landfill.”

To have your say on the plans, email: planning@hants.gov.uk.