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Nation-wide check on landfill houses needed

20 November 2001

Green Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today the Minister of Health and the Public Health Directorate should take a lead in establishing how many council housing complexes are built on old landfill sites.

Ms Kedgley said the discovery of a contaminated council estate in Christchurch raised concerns for many other council tenants around the country.

"This problem is not confined to Christchurch, as many other councils also used landfills as cheap land for housing estates. Many other council tenants will be wondering if they are sitting on a toxic dump too."

Ms Kedgley said the Christchurch City Council was acting responsibly in identifying and releasing public details about nine other complexes built on old landfills, and in testing them to see if they are safe.

"However, this is a nationwide problem, and it requires national leadership from the Minister and the Public Health Directorate on the issue.

"There is an urgent need for information to be collated about which housing complexes around the country were built on former landfills and to identify the magnitude of the problem.

"The public health directorate should work with councils to pinpoint which housing estates were built on landfills, and to ensure that testing for contamination, and remediation, is done wherever appropriate.

Ms Kedgley said many residents of council housing will be feeling concerned about whether their house is sitting on a time-bomb, and they need to know that central Government is working with local councils to make sure they are safe.


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