Garden soil to be removed from Milton Keynes housing site to be on the safe side

Contaminated soil on the site of a former service station will be removed to be on the safe side before houses are built there.

A report has been presented to Milton Keynes Council as a condition of an already approved plan to build homes on the site in Little Brickhill, near Milton Keynes.

The site of the old service station before demolition work took place

The site of the old service station before demolition work took place

Geo-Environmental Investigations (GEI) has removed soil, the former petrol pumps, and a cafe from the site off Watling Street, and investigated what remains there for any contamination.

They found arsenic, hydrocarbons, vanadium, lead, and a potentially cancer causing substance called benzo(a)pyrene, and their report says “all known and a significant number of previously unknown potential sources of hydrocarbon contamination have been successfully removed.

Although only the most recent set of tanks was found enclosed in a containment, no significant levels of hydrocarbon contamination were detected in the soils surrounding the other, older groups of tanks.

However they add that soil from the forecourt area is not suitable for gardens, even though not all samples were found to be significantly contaminated. There is too much brick, concrete, road scalpings, old ballast, metal, and glass for reuse in future garden areas.

They did however find hotspots and have recommended stripping the ground from all future garden areas, “applying the precautionary principle”. They say replacement subsoil and topsoil should come from documented sources.

But they add: “We caution against the purchase of any topsoil on the strength of suppliers’ certificates only, which may be out of date or unrepresentative of the material purchased.”

They add that asbestos had been removed from a former café-cum-workshop, before demolition took place in December 2018.

The site investigation and remediation report will have to be cleared by Milton Keynes Council planners before Tilsworth Developments Limited can build houses on the site.