In October 2009 they finally did what they should have done all along – carried out a proper investigation in line with BS 10175. When they did (and they were forced kicking and screaming to carry this out) the entire site was found to be contaminated with lead, arsenic and brown asbestos. Tragically, they failed to remove the deadly brown asbestos from the site properly:-

When I told them it was not being removed properly, they again branded me “vexatious”.

Email sent by me 0th August 2009 at 06.21

Dear FoI Officer

I have been trying for over a year to see documentary evidence from Stockport Council regarding the further contamination investigation work demanded by the Environment Agency at the Harcourt Site for the proposed 500 pupil school, nursery and children’s centre to be built over the site of a still gassing toxic dump extensively tipped from 1954 to 1974 when no records were kept and over the site of which absolutely no contamination investigation points have been dug.

You have consistently refused me access to this information. I contacted the Heath and Safety Executive on this issue and they told me to get the information from the consultants involved Watts and Co. I made a FOI request to Watts and Co who said Stockport Council refused them permission to disclose this information.

As the footpaths across the school site will need to be diverted, before we go to an expensive public inquiry and put the Planning Inspectorate to great expense, we need, of course, to make sure the footpaths are not being diverted into areas of contamination which will have to be fenced off (which is the proposed method the Council has of dealing with the contamination on the site).

I shall cc this to the Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate as further proof of the Herculean efforts I have made over a year long period to get this information. I can send her all the other attempts I have made to get this information without success should she need to see further evidence.

The Council has been told by a senior officer at the Information Commission to reconsider the refusal under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (and I did actually quote that legislation in my original request), yet still the Council is refusing to release this information and one has to ask – what is there to hide?

I look forward to hearing from you without much hope of success.

Kind regards