Fears that asbestos from Colwyn Bay pier could contaminate beach
Concerns have been voiced that the continued deterioration of the derelict Grade II-listed Colwyn Bay pier could lead to the beach becoming contaminated with asbestos, due to sheeting made from the lethal substance having been used in the construction of the main pavilion in the 1930s.
A report by Conwy County Borough Council said that the pier being hit by bad weather could cause the sheeting to break up, and that the structure should be dismantled as soon as possible. While the council owns the pier and approved plans to dismantle it in July, work cannot start until the go-ahead has also been given by the Welsh Government.
The steady decline of a great historic pier
The council is also unable to act on its plans until it has secured a marine licence from environmental body Natural Resources Wales (NRW), and fears that adverse weather may begin to hit the pier before this permission has been obtained.
The pier was first opened in 1900, but started to decline from the late 1980s and eventually closed in 2008. The structure began to collapse in February, with council engineers stating that the collapse of the sea end had weakened other sections. Parts of the pier have already been demolished as a safety measure.
Council warns of “rapidly deteriorating structure”
According to an internal council report, released to BBC Wales as a result of a Freedom of Information request, “the strong impression remains of a rapidly deteriorating structure. The external walls of the pavilion were in a very poor condition when the deck was accessed some three to four years ago. It is surprising that they have not yet failed under wind load.
“If the walls fail, then a dominant opening would form, significantly increasing the wind pressure within the pavilion, leading to a high risk of the asbestos cement sheets being lost from the structure.”
With the asbestos sheeting having been known since its identification in a 2012 survey of the pier, the report added that the council had been considering how to clean the beach in the event of the pavilion’s collapse.
The Welsh Government said that it was assessing an application to dismantle the pier, while NRW confirmed it had received a marine licence application in relation to Colwyn Bay pier that was currently out to consultation. The body added that it “would consider any request to fast track a permit on a case by case basis.”
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Here at Trident Asbestos Solutions, we will certainly await with interest any further news on the fate of Colwyn Bay pier and what measures are taken to ensure the safe removal of any asbestos posing a danger to human health.
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