20 Feb 2018 Waverley’s Local Plan Part 1 adopted
was adopted tonight:
- For – 41
- Against – 1
- Abstained – 3
Even those who opposed or had serious reservations took the view that the Waverley area would have more protection with a LP. Even with it’s flaws, WBC would be able to take back control. No longer would planning be developer led.
All three Cranleigh Councillors expressed their deep concerns about Waverley’s Local Plan. But they decided to vote For IT because the consequences of having no LP would be disastrous. Nothing will undo the damage that has already been inflicted on Cranleigh but further damage can be minimised with the LP.
Waverley’s local plan part 1 – Cranleigh Society’s opinion was shared before the vote –
Whilst Cranleigh is viewed by Waverley as one of the four main “settlements”, it has some serious infrastructure problems which the Inspector, Jonathan Bore, has not addressed in the report, even though they were pointed out to him by Cranleigh Civic Society and others at the Inquiry.
- Cranleigh is only served by already congested B-roads, and lanes (we call them “rat runs”) which do not even qualify for B-road status, and there are no plans in his report (or in the Local Plan) to solve this.
- Any new dwellings being built in Cranleigh rely on sewage treatment at the Elmbridge Road works. In recent years, the so-called river that the effluent is pumped into, Cranleigh Waters, has developed serious flow problems, sometimes ceasing flowing altogether. The river has become polluted, with local angling societies reporting dying fish stocks to the Environment Agency, and there is currently no plan by Waverley to solve this problem. The Inspector has not considered this in his report.
- 29.6% of all Cranleigh’s drinking water supply network is made from old asbestos cement pipes which are at the end of their 50 to 70 year design life, and they are regularly bursting releasing free asbestos fibres into the water supply. Some of the pipes recently tested by Thames Water are made from highly dangerous blue asbestos. Waverley are aware of this problem, and it has been suggested to them that all the old asbestos cement pipes be replaced before any new housing is connected to the network. Again, this important matter has not been considered by the Inspector in his report.
- There are no plans to create new local jobs, so increasing the population will simply create a need to commute to work, which is hardly sustainable.
We accept that there is a need to build new houses in SE England and we do not have a problem with Cranleigh taking its fair share, but unless the infrastructure problems are addressed before the plan is published and put into place, we see big problems ahead.
Modern town planning (actually even Ebenezer Howard said this in the 1920s) states that “houses should be built where the jobs are”. Modern thinking is to build settlements as close as possible to places where people can work or to at least give people easy access to commute. Of the four settlements in the report, Cranleigh is least able to meet this criteria. It has only B-roads and narrow lanes leading out of it, no railway station and so on. The obvious place to build substantial quantities of new houses, in the Waverley area, is Milford, as:
(1) It has a mainline railway station that can easily be extended to take the new 12 car trains to London; (2) It is close to both the A31 and A3; (3) It is close to the job markets in Guildford, Godalming and Farnham; (4) It is adjacent to the River Wey and therefore readily lends itself to the building of a new major sewage treatment works that can meet the needs of the latest 2017 implementations of the Water Framework Directive. Yet I think we are correct in saying that the Local Plan only envisages 180 new dwellings in Milford? If this is the situation we have to ask “Why?”
CRANLEIGH CIVIC SOCIETY.
Go to Waverley Borough Council website and complete the consultation if you feel you can.
Local Plan Part 2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies
Thames Water advised Cranleigh Civic Society on the 20th October that the 3km of asbestos cement pipe that they are replacing in Cranleigh is only one fifth of the total length of the asbestos pipes in the village.
That means that Cranleigh will still have 12km of very old, decaying asbestos cement (AC) drinking water pipes operational in the drinking water network.
Cranleigh Civic Society has written several times to the Government’s Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) asking them to confirm that these old pipes will not be a risk to the health of Cranleigh residents, and we have not received reassurance from them.
The position of Cranleigh Civic Society remains unequivocal. We think these very old AC pipes in the Cranleigh area should all be replaced BEFORE any new houses are connected to the network. We think that the infrastructure should be sorted out by Waverley Borough Council first, particularly in this case where, we believe, it cannot be ruled out that there is a clear and present danger to public health.
After a long fight by Cranleigh Civic Society, Thames Water have agreed to start replacing Cranleigh’s asbestos cement drinking water pipes starting in 2018.
29.6% of our drinking water pipes are old and made from asbestos cement (compared to an average throughout SE England of just 2%). The design life of these pipes is 50 to 70 years, and as some of these were installed in the early 1960’s, they are starting to decay and burst.
During the last nine months, a team from Thames Water has met with Cranleigh Civic Society several times to discuss the problem, and Thames Water has carried out tests on samples of burst pipes to determine the composition of the materials used. They have found a mixture of white and blue asbestos. On the 5th October, the team from Thames Water announced to Cranleigh Civic Society that they will start a programme of replacement in Spring 2018 (they will need the time between now and then for planning and to seek the licences that will be needed).
Cranleigh Civic Society is grateful to Thames Water who have been open and helpful in giving advice, and also to them for carrying out tests on the samples of burst pipe. On the 9th October, Thames Water told us that they have identified over 3 km of pipes to replace, and we are awaiting confirmation from them as to how much of our old asbestos cement network that accounts for, and over what period of time the replacement programme will take place.
Thames Water has advised us that they have secured the funding for this project, which comes out of central pot and will not impact on our bills locally.
New housing being built in Cranleigh must comply with current Building Regulations that require a minimum 1 bar drinking water pressure provision. This is because many new houses nowadays are provided with unvented hot water systems, which work on higher pressure than the old “indirect” systems based on a header tank in the attic space. Over the past three months the number of burst water pipes has increased considerably with over 20 bursts occurring, some leaving residents without water for days at a time. This has coincided with the building of new housing estates in the village.
Cranleigh Civic Society’s opinion is that if more new housing estates are connected onto the existing network before Thames Water has finished replacing the old asbestos cement pipes, the number of bursts will increase exponentially, and could raise the risk of more free asbestos fibres entering the drinking water network.
We think these old asbestos cement pipes in the Cranleigh area should be replaced BEFORE more new houses are connected to the network.
On Monday the 24th of July, Anne Milton MP organised a meeting at the village hall that she described as a flood forum and it turned out to be much more than that. She brought together Waverley planners, Thames Water, the Environment Agency, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, Public Health England, Surrey County Council, the National Flood Forum, Cranleigh Parish Council and Cranleigh Civic Society to discuss openly several of the major concerns Cranleigh’s residents have raised with her. 65 members of the public came along and several parish and borough councillors also attended.
The plan was to address these concerns and direct them specifically to the authority responsible, so that the answers could be heard by all. We were very happy to hear sewerage problems, flooding and asbestos cement water pipes all discussed openly. It was always understood that the problems would not be resolved then and there but that efforts could be made to address them in the coming weeks and months.
To aid this, small sub committees were formed to work on specific areas and they will report back at the next meeting planned for the autumn. It was just the beginning of what will be a long term effort but a positive step and one that Cranleigh Civic Society welcomes. Members of the Society volunteered to join sub committees and share the information they have collected specific to each area so we will be close to the decision making process.
Main Report sent to Waverley Borough Council by Cranleigh Civic Society:
Asbestos Cement Pipes, H & S Risk Assessment, CCS, 29-Jan-17
1. Thames Water email 23-Dec-16, 30% & 2%
2. Water Research Council report, deterioration of AC pipes, 1988
3. Water Research Council Report, May 1985
4. Asbestos in Drinking Water, WHO, 1996, updated 2003
5. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 14, 122-152, 2011
6. Faber Maunsell Ltd Report for DWI, May 2002
7. Crysotile Institute, Bulletin V10, Nov 2011
8. Health Protection Agency toxicological overview, 2007
9. WHO Crysotile Asbestos Report, 2014,
10. Institute of Public Health (Netherlands) Report no. 758473006, 1987, Section 1.1.1 Oral
11. ATSDR (USA) toxicology report, 2001
12. WHO declaration of interest form, 2010
13. Woodstock report, asbestos risk from AC pipes, 1987
14. Request to Jeremy Hunt for medical data, Jan-08-17
15. Asbestos (Hansard, 8 November 1983)
16. Brita filters statement, 28-Apr-16
17. 2015 Thames Water, Drinking Water Quality Report_Z0163_Cranleigh
18. pH tests in Cranleigh, 28-Jan-17
Since publishing this report we have located several other studies on the risk of Asbestos Drinking Water Pipes (although the majority appears to cover Chrysotile (white) asbestos only):
Drinking Water Quality: Problems and Solutions
Cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and exposure to asbestos in drinking water among lighthouse keepers (Norway). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7758048_Cancer_of_the_gastrointestinal_tract_and_exposure_to_asbestos_in_drinking_water_among_lighthouse_keepers_Norway [accessed Jun 6, 2017].
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/12/prweb13918925.htm– Scientists Warn of Mesothelioma Risk in Italy’s Drinking Water, According to Surviving Mesothelioma 7 April 2017
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27919155– [Possible health risks from asbestos in drinking water] PubMed Article Dec 2016 Further information here –http://www.epiprev.it/intervento/rischio-clinico-da-ingestione-di-fibre-di-amianto-acqua-potabile english translation towards the bottom of the page).
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2744839 Conclusion – There is no agreement between the results of the various studies, but an association between ingested asbestos fibres and cancer of the stomach and pancreas has been found with some degree of consistency.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1569098/pdf/envhper00459-0054.pdf – In conclusion, there is no question that studies designed at the individual level, such as case control studies, are now needed to establish firmly risk levels to ingested asbestos. However, as illustrated above, the costs of reliably establishing these risk levels will be high, a fact that should be recognized by the sponsors and investigators of future research in this area.
As you will be aware we have had major concerns about our ageing and deteriorating asbestos cement drinking water pipes for some time now. Due to the age of previous significant development in Cranleigh in the 60’s, we suspected that they may contain crocidolite (blue asbestos), in addition to chrysotile (white asbestos). Although Thames Water assured us that the pipes were constructed from white asbestos, our own research did not reflect this, and we have been pushing for testing to be carried out.
Over the past two weeks we were successful in getting Thames Water to send a section of drinking water pipe, being replaced in the Hitherwood area, for independent testing to confirm the presence of blue asbestos (crocidolite). This has now been confirmed.
The presence of crocidolite (blue asbestos) is not the result we were hoping for, but it is in line with the guidance given on the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website under the Asbestos section. HSE state that asbestos cement pipes made prior to 1969 are likely to contain crocidolite.
A further section of pipe from the Summerlands area has been tested and this has been shown to contain only white asbestos. We have asked also requested details from Thames Water of the percentage of blue to white asbestos, and to assess how much deterioration has taken place in the pipes. Furthermore, we have requested that a section of pipe be tested from the Park Mead area, although we have been told that this will not be carried out until there is a burst pipe there. We will be challenging Thames water on this.
Blue and white asbestos have very different risks associated with them, with the crocidolite being considered more hazardous. We should stress that the majority of evidenced high risks are associated with inhaling asbestos fibres, however, there does appear to be a growing evidence base worldwide that suggests that there is also a risk associated with ingested fibres.
Recently Australia and New Zealand have announced replacement programmes for their asbestos cement pipes, and in the USA they already test drinking water for asbestos fibres, and have set maximum guidelines, testing is NOT carried out in the UK.
We have been asking the authorities, including the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), since September 2016 to assess the risk to Cranleigh residents from a high percentage of ageing and deteriorating asbestos cement drinking water pipes without success. Asbestos cement pipes have a 50-70 year design life and some of these in Cranleigh are approaching 70 years old. The issue also affects residents in Dunsfold, Ewhurst and Alfold, we have not looked into any of the other surrounding areas. In a recent planning application in Waverley for development in Alfold, once again the Society advised Waverley of the existence of blue asbestos in the drinking water network, once again we were ignored.
We have questioned the position of the DWI. Whilst their blanket statement broadly states that there is no consistent evidence to suggest that asbestos is dangerous when ingested, we have studied their database of evidence and that of other qualified evidence available and we are of the opinion that the DWI, and the World Health Organisation (WHO), have based their studies in the main on chrysotile (white asbestos). Furthermore, many of the reports back in the 1970s and 1980s were sponsored by the asbestos industry, and in particular by the Chrysotile Institute, and they should be treated with some caution, as well as being based mainly on the effects of chrysotile.
In January 2017, in discussion with HSE, Cranleigh Civic Society circulated our own Risk Assessment under the Health and Safety Act looking at data from contemporary research carried out over the last few years, some of it by highly respected organisations such as the American Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health (a leading publication respected around the world). Our increasing concerns surrounding crocidolite remain, because of its needle-like structure, it has the potential to penetrate membranes in the body more easily than the more curly fibres of white asbestos.
Our research is continuing, and we have received this from a contact in New Zealand. It was put out by Radio New Zealand and is now on their website:
‘A $2.2 billion price tag has been put on the cost of replacing the country’s asbestos water supply pipelines.
Drinking water delivered through functioning asbestos pipes isn’t risky, but airborne particles from broken pipes can be dangerous.
Asbestos cement pipes were installed for local water supply networks from the 1950s to the 1970s, and manufacturers stopped producing them in the mid 1980’s. The pipes’ life expectancy is about 50 years so many will be due for replacement.
Functioning pipes being used for water do not pose a threat to health. The World Health Organisation has said swallowing asbestos present in water does not present the same cancer risk as inhaling dry particles. However, asbestos pipes that are cut or broken when dry can pose a health risk if particles are released into the air.
The Water Services Association of Australia has estimated it could cost $AU8b ($NZ9b) to safely remove Australia’s roughly 40,000km of worn-out asbestos piping.
Water New Zealand estimated the total length of this country’s water supply pipelines at 36,436km, with the network valued at $8.7b. It estimated 9000km of those pipes were made of asbestos cement and that they would need to be replaced in the next 20 to 30 years.
With many of the pipes nearing the end of their useful life, Water New Zealand chief executive John Pfahlert said local councils would have to do careful planning to make the replacement affordable to ratepayers. There were a number of available options cheaper than digging them out, such as relining existing pipes or leaving decommissioned pipes in the ground and placing new pipes around them, he said. Wellington Water spokesperson Alex van Paassen said replacing asbestos cement pipes, as opposed to those made of other materials, did require safety precautions. However, he said, those precautions would not add a significant amount to the overall cost of replacement. Mr van Paassen said pipes in Wellington were prioritised for renewal based on how critical the need for repairs was, or how many households were served, and not on whether they were made of asbestos.
“Wellington Water had a regular pipe renewal schedule for all types of pipes”, he said.’
We have continued to keep our MP Anne Milton informed of our research and she has now arranged a meeting on 24th July in Cranleigh to investigate this further. Thames Water, the DWI and other relevant parties have confirmed their attendance. This is also following the petition sent to Anne Milton following our public meeting on 25th May. We are grateful to her for listening to our concerns and seizing this opportunity to seek answers.
Cranleigh Civic Society, in consultation with the Government’s Health and Safety Executive, prepared a full Risk Assessment on the network of asbestos cement pipes in Cranleigh and sent this to Waverley Borough Council on the 29th January. Waverley ignored it.
We are aware that this subject will cause a high degree of concern in the village and we will of course keep you informed of any developments.