Council contractors left broken asbestos in garden for weeks

Chic Cottrell with the broken pieces of asbestos in his garden
Chic Cottrell with the broken pieces of asbestos in his garden

A Kirkcaldy pensioner was shocked to find that Fife Council contractors left dangerous asbestos lying in his garden for up to five weeks.

Chic Cottrell’s home is one of many that has been undergoing renovations, with cladding replaced on the outside of the buildings on Farne Court.

The asbestos pipes have clearly been broken.

The asbestos pipes have clearly been broken.

Workers left some building materials in his garden, but it was only when they moved them that he realised that pieces of a broken pipe made of cancer-causing asbestos had been lying there the whole time.

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The pipes.

The pipes.

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Chic (65), is an engineer by trade, and was fully aware of the regulations regarding how the dangerous material must be handled.

A worker then stepped in to lift the shattered pipe with his bare hands, but Chic stopped him as the proper safety precautions need to be followed for the benefit of everyone in the area.

“It’s probably been there in the region of four-to-five weeks, but because it’s been covered in building materials, I didn’t know,” he said.

“The contractor said it was only low-grade. But they’d broken it, so it doesn’t matter as it causes asbestosis – it’s carcinogenic.”

John Mills, head of housing services at Fife Council confirmed that as part of the installation of external wall insulation works at Farne Court, the presence of asbestos-containing downpipes was discovered, and that the local authority is investigating the matter.

He said: “The council with its contractors has set down strict disposal arrangements for these downpipes once removed from the properties.

“We work closely with our contractors, Everwarm and Enviras to ensure that the downpipes are disposed of safely.

“Unfortunately, a discovery was made of three discarded pipes in the garden ground of one of these properties and this is now subject of a formal investigation by the council.

“The downpipes were securely bagged and disposed of the same day by the contractor.

“The investigation report will be discussed with the council’s corporate health and safety team to ensure that this does not happen again.”