Latest in Marlbrook Tip explained during lively meeting

By Beth Sharp Thursday 13 February 2014 Updated: 15/02 13:41

OUTRAGED residents gathered at Lickey Parish Hall on Monday (February 10) to hear the latest on the Marlbrook Tip.

The meeting, chaired by Coun John Ruck, was aimed at addressing residents' concerns with Environment Agency (EA) representatives and council officers on hand to answer questions.

Those gathered were told how the land owner had until March to improve the site so it complied with legal regulations.

Coun Ruck and officers explained 53,000 cubic metres of material would be laid down, recontouring would take place and grass planted to meet the requirements ordered by the EA's statutory panel engineer. He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to deal with reservoirs under the Reservoirs Act 1975. Failure to comply would be a criminal offence.

But officers pointed out - if each lorry could carry seven cubic metres of material - it would take 440 loads every week for the next six months.

An EA representative said if the works were not completed in time, an enforcement panel could issue a warning letter, a formal caution or prosecute the land owner. She was unable to say, at this time, what action was more likely to be taken.

Concerns were raised about the land owner choosing the panel engineer to oversee the work, but the EA representative said he would have to select from a Defra approved list.

Residents also heard the works had been ordered because of the safety issues surrounding the reservoir's dam on the site.

The EA representive said the clay and the ground were being eroded everytime it rained which could lead to the dam being breached and water leaking into the brook, potentially flooding the surrounding area. Adding restoration soil would stabilise the site and was done in the best interest of the residents' safety she said.

Many residents questioned why Peter Kelham, the panel engineer who made the recommendations to add more soil onto the site, had not ordered material be removed first or chosen another option.

We contacted him after the meeting and he said the decision to remove material from the site was not his to make as he did not have the power.

He added: "As far as I was concerned the site needed stabilising - with a layer of top soil."

Residents also asked for clarification on who would be responsible for site and overseeing the work.

The EA representative explained the site owner, Liberty Construction, was responsible for the site and ensuring the work was completed on time.

"Their appointed panel engineer will be responsible for supervising and certifying the works to ensure they are carried out to the correct standard," she added.

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