Controversial plans to re-open Droppingwell Tip could force a kid’s football club to close due to the threat posed to children’s health and safety.
The Environmental Agency have given Grange Landfill Ltd a permit to dump 200,000 tonnes of waste per year just metres away from Millmoor Junior football pitches in Kimberworth.
Club Chairman Adam Wright said: “It could potentially close the club and I’ve got 400 footballers here who would either have to stop playing or find another club.”
The original tip, which contained asbestos, cyanide and other toxic materials, was sealed in the 1990s – but work to open a second tip began last month.
Mr Wright raised concerns that players as young as six might breathe in harmful dust carried onto the pitch by the prevailing wind from the tip.
Stephen Mckenna, head of the Droppingwell Action Group, expressed similar concerns.
“There’s every chance that a new tip is going to disturb part of the original tip and could possibly expose the concoction of toxic material within it,” he said.
A representative of the Sheffield and Rotherham Asbestos Group (SARAG) said: “You only need one fibre of invisible to the naked eye asbestos to get into your lungs to cause nasty diseases like asbestosis, plural-thickening in the lungs and a very nasty cancer called mesothelioma. All of them are killers.”
Another concern expressed by Mr Wright was that the only entrance to the site for the 40 HGV’s expected each day is through the club’s gates. With hundreds of children around the club he and parents are very concerned about a serious accident occurring.
He believes the club has been “sold down the river” by the Environmental Agency who have failed to do their due diligence.
Members of Millmoor Juniors FC joined protestors from the Droppingwell Action Group outside Rotherham Town Hall in October and presented the council with a petition with 2,000 signatures opposing the tip.
Mr Wright was not optimistic about their chances of preventing Grange Landfill’s plans: “Our odds are slim to none. At the end of the day, money talks and they’ve got a lot of it.”
Grange Landfill Ltd refused to comment on the concerns raised by Mr Wright.