Council comments on plans to clean up former Ravenscraig Hospital site

Inverclyde Council has today issued a statement about moves by Link Housing Association to clean-up and redevelop the former Ravenscraig Hospital site for housing.

Link Housing Association owns the site while Inverclyde Council is the planning authority.

The site is a ‘brown field’ site meaning that it has already been used. Many brownfield sites need to be cleaned up before they can be re-developed and this is the case with the former Ravenscraig Hospital site.

A spokesperson for Inverclyde Council said, “There is nothing unusual about the former Ravenscraig Hospital site. It is very similar to many other brownfield sites which have successfully been brought back into use using exactly the same techniques as those that are being proposed in the clean-up plan developed by Link Housing Association.”

“The most important point, in terms of contaminated land is that, if pollution is present, it can only be harmful if there is some way for the people using the site to come into contact with it. If there is no way for the people to come into contact with the pollution, then it cannot cause them any harm.

“Various different methods can be used to prevent people coming into contact with the pollution on a site. In many cases these methods involve creating a barrier, which stops people coming into contact with the pollution, rather than treating it or removing it. This is a highly regulated and nationally accepted approach to bringing a brown-field site back into use.

“This method is called ‘capping’. Referring to capping as a ‘controversial’ technique is incorrect. It is a well-recognised and widely used clean-up strategy.

“The clean-up plan indicates that a capping membranes with a minimum lifespan of 60 years will be used. But this isn’t the only feature of the engineered system which will consist of three layers including a 600mm thick layer of clean soil. The engineered capping system will also be monitored and reinstated if it gets damaged.

“As a planning authority we are familiar with the wide range of technical guidance, specifications, standards, toxicological data and research publications that need to be considered to ensure best practice in assessing and cleaning up land.

“The key to cleaning up a site is breaking the possible pathways between humans and possible contaminants. How this is done is irrelevant as long as it is effective. If there are carcinogens on a site they are harmless if no one comes into contact with them and burying them and sealing them in is an effective way of doing this.

“All of the appropriate planning procedures have been correctly followed. It is now up to Link Housing Association to ensure that it complies with all the conditions in the planning permission.