It has come to our attention that the site investigations conducted by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), at Ryebank Fields in December 2019, have exposed potentially asbestos containing material in a publicly accessible area. This material has been left discarded for 6 months in areas of land disturbed by their bore holes.
MMU were given notice that asbestos and other landfill is buried under Ryebank Fields as early as September 2019. They were fully aware that any intrusive works could unearth asbestos containing materials, yet they have confirmed that they did not commission a separate Asbestos Survey as part of their site investigations.
MMU have also confirmed that during their site investigations asbestos was found in two of their trial pits. Yet they still did not commission an Asbestos Survey.
Asbestos containing material was reported to MMU by a member of the public on 6th May. It took the University a week to inform the public of the associated risk, despite the fact that the suspicious sample had already been professionally analysed and confirmed to be asbestos. According to policy they should have acted immediately. Further samples have been collected and submitted for analysis. All samples have now been confirmed to contain asbestos. One sample tested positive for blue asbestos; the most hazardous of all levels of asbestos.
As is MMU’s responsibility, they have now temporarily closed off the main entrances to Ryebank Fields and have informed us that public access will be restricted until an Asbestos Survey has been conducted.
We have emphasised the huge value of Ryebank Fields to our local community, especially under current circumstances when access to green space is even more important for recreation and exercise. We have therefore urged the University to carry out their investigations as expeditiously as possible and reopen the fields. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.
We have also requested assurance from MMU that no trees, vegetation or wildlife will be harmed during this period of their investigations.
We will do all possible to hold MMU to account for the serious concerns that this situation has raised and will keep you informed of any developments.
Asbestos and other toxic materials are only dangerous if disturbed. If Ryebank Fields is left to nature and the development is stopped there will be no further risk to public health.