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23 June 2010, 11:53
Two public meetings are being held for residents in Hauxton who are concerned about the health implications of some nearby land which is being de-contaminated.
The first, this evening, is being organised by Harrow Estates, the owners of the old Bayer Crop Science site.
Since the 1940s, the site, near the A10, was used to produce chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
Over time, these materials contaminated the surrounding soil and are also threatening two nearby rivers.
Because of this contamination, Harrow Estates and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working to clean up the land before houses are built on it.
Since the de-contamination work began, residents have been complaining of chemicals being released into the air causing breathing difficulties, sore throats, streaming eyes, burning lips and numb tongues.
Harrow Estates is holding a drop-in session for concerned residents at the Hauxton Village Hall between 3pm and 8pm.
Jennie Daly, Harrow Estates Managing Director, said: "The Health Protection Agency has advised that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions from the site are not of concern toxicologically and are therefore very unlikely to pose a risk to the nearby residents short or long term health"
A protest group, called Haux-Air, has been set up by residents who disagree.
A number of indepentent experts will be speaking at the group's meeting, which is on Thursday at 7pm in Hauxton Church.
The Haux-Air website claims that: "The clean up process itself is causing problems for the local residents in 10 or so villages – Hauxton, Harston, Haslingfield, Gt.Shelford, Lt Shelford, Stapleford, Grantchester, Barton, Trumpington, Barrington.
Not only is there the nuisance of almost unbearable noxious smells and dust, but there does seem to be an increase in the number of people with symptoms such as breathing difficulties, sore eyes and throats, burning lips and numb tongues particularly when the wind blows their way."