SIR - I write with reference to your article “Go-ahead for housing despite tip site concern”, (Craven Herald, April 12) commenting on Craven District Council’s decision to grant outline planning permission for a ‘controversial’ site on Station Road, Giggleswick.

The council received a significant number of letters and a petition, making them aware of the very real concerns about contamination on this site, historically used as a Victorian municipal tip and the main dumping ground for toxic waste from the Settle Town Gas works nearby.

It is hard to believe this lush green pastureland, through which the Ribble Way currently meanders, is contaminated, but I urge anyone who cares about the local environment and its preservation to read for themselves the environmental report subsequently commissioned on behalf of the landowner.

Soil samples were taken for testing revealing elevated levels of Heavy Metals and other toxic substances, including, Arsenic, Lead, Chromium V1, Benzo(a)pyrene, Naphthalene gas, Copper, Boron and Zinc.

At present these contaminants lie undisturbed and safely buried but surely building on this site, especially given the depths the foundations must go below the ‘made ground’ in order to be stable, must present a risk?

If as plans illustrate, soakaways are the preferred method of surface water drainage, any disturbance of this land could potentially cause the leaching of pollutants into the River Ribble, causing possible harm to aquatic life.

The report describes the overall risk as ‘moderate’ but goes on to state not all potential contaminants may have been discovered.

The report also recommends any site workers should wear personal protective clothing to minimise exposure to contaminated soil.

If site workers are to be protected from possible contamination, what protection will be afforded to local residents, ramblers enjoying the Ribble Way, or even the wider community when this land is disturbed, and dust is blown by the prevailing southwesterly winds direct onto local housing only 20 metres away?

Although the council have now insisted a remedial strategy be put in place before any building begins, in itself this is likely to present risk to local residents.

As Councillor Welch said, this is a “dangerous application”.

It is astonishing the planning committee have granted permission, ignoring the genuine concerns of local people.

Whether there is low, moderate or high risk, any risk at all could be avoided by not developing this land.

Alan Boyd, Sandholme Drive. Giggleswick