Residents have launched legal proceedings against a housing association over fears that their home was built on toxic land.
Collins Solicitors, which represents 43 families in and around the estate off Watling Street, Motherwell, issued proceedings at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Monday against Lanarkshire Housing Association (LHA).
The action is on behalf of Angela McManus and her husband Robert McManus.
The Motherwell estate was once the site of a factory run by engineers Metropolitan Vickers before homes were built in the 1990s.
The alarm was raised in 2010 when an initial probe into the soil found an isolated reading of trichloroethylene (TCE), a cancer-causing hydrocarbon, in the open ground yards from the houses.
But investigations by North Lanarkshire Council in August last year found that there is "no evidence" of the estate posing a "significant possibility of significant harm" to residents.
Collins Solicitors has maintained for over two years that the properties were built on land that was not fully remediated following a history of heavy industrial use.
The solicitors carried out air testing at 25 of the properties in June and July 2011 and confirmed that levels of toxic material in the indoor air were far higher than acceptable levels set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Standards.
Residents say that they have been suffering from a number of health complaints caused by exposure to these neuro-toxic vapours.
Collins Solicitors represents 43 families in and around the estate and said that the action is a "test case" to establish whether there harmful substances are present at the site and are causing health problems
Des Collins, Senior Partner of Collins Solicitors, said: "All along we have warned that if the residents were not able to secure voluntary remediation of the site, legal action would follow.
"The properties are unfit for human habitation — the neuro-toxic vapours are making the residents ill.
"Whilst it is important to ask why the site was not properly remediated before the houses were built, the much more pressing issue is to find an immediate solution to the ongoing health problems.
"Site investigations have been ongoing for over two years. The most recent survey commissioned by the residents revealed levels of neuro-toxins in the air inside the houses to be far higher than those recommended by the World Health Organisation.
"LHA, as landlord to a number of residents on the estate, is responsible for the provision of accommodation which meets basic standards. We anticipate that this test case will be sufficient to demonstrate the extent of the problem and the need for extensive remediation.
"Clearly there is a possibility that other potential defenders will become involved and in particular we have invited North Lanarkshire Council, City Link Development Company and Clyde Valley Housing Association to agree that any action against them be put on hold pending the outcome of this test case.
"If that agreement is not forthcoming then further proceedings against these parties will follow within the next month."
Lanarkshire Housing Association have been contacted by STV and have yet to reply.
More About Motherwell toxic estate
- Residents of ‘toxic’ housing estate sue North Lanarkshire Council
- Council confirms contamination of Shotts estate
- Lawyer 'disappointed' by latest toxic land results
- Lawyers urged to share findings after fresh claims of toxins at housing estate
- Resident explains fears of living on estate at centre of toxic pollution investigation
- 'No significant health risk' at toxic fears housing estate
- 'Polluted estate risk not significant' according to largest environmental survey yet
- Third toxic land investigations concludes 'no risk' to residents
- Solicitor claims toxins on Motherwell estate 'beyond safe levels'
- Motherwell residents called to meeting over ‘toxic’ housing estate
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