Cranleigh Civic Society News

Tonight we meet up with our newly elected representatives and friends, to see how we can shine a light on problems and progress. We appreciate that we haven’t stopped the over-development of Cranleigh and that’s a shame. But small things have been achieved and we do work hard to find out important information, to ensure that the councils are better at communicating, and to share what we know with you all.

If you think you know of something we need to know – please respond soon.  We will review many topics including all the planning applications and conditions – a huge task. We will keep an eye on our trees and hedgerows too.

Our main topic tonight will be actions about our Drinking Water supply pipes, some are very old and keep bursting, and are made of potentially harmful asbestos cement. Following on from the Financial Times article and the Flood Forum Anne Milton MP, is now in favour of pursuing the powers-that-be to get some answers. In particular whether there is a risk of peritoneal mesothelioma from crocidolite (blue) asbestos?

Here is what has been done –

Society members contacted the Health & Safety Board some years ago. They stated that CCS would have to carry out a Risk Assessment of the possible problems and health risks posed by bursting water pipes – some in Cranleigh are made of asbestos cement, and some of those are made of “Blue” asbestos cement.

These fibres, if released into the drinking water around the time of the bursts may get into people’s bodies.

So the risk assessment was very professionally carried out and sent to Waverley Borough Council – it is their duty to ensure that our drinking water is “fit for consumption” by law. That was years ago. Since then many people of many professions have been involved and haven’t found hard evidence of fibres being released and ingested, or of fibres doing harm to people’s intestines etc if ingested.  (of course we know that inhaled asbestos fibres can cause illnesses, and this includes swallowing products from the chest – which happens from time to time -especially if people are ill). 

n.b. The 1996 WHO report was based on white asbestos (blue wasn’t tested at all). The WHO response to Anne Milton MP recently was not at all what is needed – so we asked – can they be persuaded to undertake some studies – what can we do to get this done? Cranleigh Parish Councillors are also pressing for answers.

So the current situation is as follows –  Anne Milton is waiting for a meeting with Public Health England and others, then meeting Waverley Councillors, Waverley CEO and others, to discuss next steps, reporting back in September.

WHO (World Health Organisation), IARC (the department at WHO that deals with all cancer risk related research) did do a very thorough report last year (2018) and within that report they considered corrosion of asbestos cement pipes.

So  WHO are quite up-to-date about this subject and if they say to Anne from their review meeting this month that they do not have any concerns about any ingestion disease risk from old crocidolite (blue) asbestos pipes, then that’s a good result.    Or they may say that there is a risk, or that more research is needed.

At the end of the day, we all look up to and respect WHO as the “top-of-the-chain” when it comes to assessing disease risk around the world, with access to top scientific brains.

keep in touch and make us feel our efforts are worth while!

see you soon? If you can’t make Mondays why not get in touch and we can get together any time to share what we know and what you know too.

NEXT social at the Three Horseshoes pub is from 6.30 pm on 2nd Monday in May – 13th