Friday brief: New contaminated land report ignores Corby’s toxic past
Plus a round up of some news from across the county
A new report looking at contaminated land across North Northamptonshire makes no mention of Corby’s toxic past and reveals that only one site in the area is officially registered as contaminated.
In the late 1980s and 1990s Corby carried out the biggest land reclamation in Europe when it cleaned up land that had been used to store toxic chemicals created by the town’s steel industry.
Two decades later a group of families won a legal action against the former Corby Borough Council after a judge ruled their children’s birth defects had been caused by the mismanagement of the toxic waste clean up, which had allowed particles to escape into the air and pollute the town.
However a report that will be signed off by the council in coming weeks says nothing about any contaminated sites in Corby, only listing a former landfill site in Irchester as a contaminated area.
The omission was raised at a meeting of the executive advisory panel yesterday, by Cllr Kevin Watt who represents the Corby rural area.
When he queried why Corby’s recent history of land reclamation was not listed he was told by environmental protection officer Mandy Dennis:
“The purpose is not to list all the contaminated sites, it is just to say how we would go through the inspection process.
“There are quite a lot of contaminated sites in Corby and the other areas; we are not ignoring them, we know where we are, but we don’t list them.”
When Cllr Watt asked for the list of all sites (which had previously been put together by the former councils of Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northants) the officer said the list was ‘commercially sensitive’ but she could not see why councillors could not have access to them.
It is the responsibility of councils to have an inspection strategy for land that may be contaminated. However they do not have to carry out a proactive inspection of land and may wait until it comes up for development for any remediation.
At the meeting the officer also revealed that any homes in the area built prior to regulations introduced in 2000 had not had the land investigated and the authority had a list of homes that had been built on potentially contaminated sites.
Read our obituary of the whistleblower who helped Corby families get justice.
News in brief
Phillip Dafter has been found guilty of murdering his wife Diane at an attack at their Northampton flat last October.
Dafter fled to London Euston after the attack on his wife at their home in Lawrence court and after stabbing himself handed himself in to police.
Diane, 36, had been stabbed five times and a post-mortem examination found she had died from a single stab wound to the heart.
During a trial at Northampton Crown Court, Dafter denied murder but admitted to manslaughter, arguing loss of control and diminished responsibility.
Dafter will be sentenced on May 19.
Senior investigating officer, detective chief inspector Adam Pendlebury, said: “It is important to remember Diana Dafter for who she was. And that is so much more than just Phillip Dafter’s wife. She was a loving mother, daughter and friend. A student nurse with a real passion for care, hardworking, and someone very easy to get along with.
“Though today’s verdict will be a small comfort to her family and those who loved her, I hope it will help to know that Phillip Dafter is now facing an exceptionally long stretch in prison for what he has done.”
Work to bring an expected £21m overspend down at the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust (NCT) has been ‘rather limited’, a council finance boss told councillors.
North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) is set to be charged £9.2m more than it had hoped for the last financial year as West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) set to be charged around £11m more than planned.
Janice Gotts, NNC’s executive director of finance and performance, said both unitary authorities were working with the trust to bring NCT’s anticipated overspend from the planned £130m for 2022/23 down but conceded forecasting can be “problematic”. Both NNC and WNC have criticised the trust over recent months, most recently over an Ofsted inspection which rated NCT’s fostering service inadequate.
Home secretary Suella Braverman chose Northamptonshire to announce her government’s pledge to put 20,000 more police officers on the street, has been met.
The pledge was made back in 2019 and followed huge cuts to police office numbers during the austerity period from the Conservative government.
Northamptonshire now has 15 full time officers, a rise from 1,280 in 2019.
Police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold has been raising council tax over the past few years in an effort to pay for the extra officers.
House DJs Dave Pearce and Alex P will be performing at the Roadmender tonight from 8pm.
If you have been reading our news for a while and think its important to have independent news in Northamptonshire, then please consider signing up as a paying member. For £6 per month you will receive everything we publish and also help to ensure we can continue. Many independents have closed down in recent months and we really do need your financial support to continue.