Asbestos discovery during floodwall repairs at Busscreek, Southwold

A move has been made to reassure people about repairs to a floodwall near Southwold after asbestos was discovered in the grout.

The Environment Agency found the fibres as they looked to repair the expansion joints in the concrete floodwall at Busscreek – north west of Southwold Harbour between Reydon and Busscreek Marshes.

Workmen will remove bitumen from the expansion joints and start taking it away from Monday.

They will wear special protective clothing as a precaution due to the asbestos.

But the risk to health is considered low because the asbestos is contained within the grout and the fibres have little chance of being released even if the grout is disturbed.

David Ritchie, Waveney cabinet member for planning & coastal management said that the council had been reassured by the Environment Agency that it is safe for people to walk along the footpaths on the seawalls that contain asbestos in the bitumen grout.

He said: 'They have informed us that firmly bound asbestos does not readily release hazardous or breathable fibres.

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'Therefore, from what we have been told the risk to people and wildlife is minimal and as this is an open coastal area we understand that risk is reduced even further.'

The work will prolong the life of the floodwall by preventing further deterioration of the concrete floodwall which could otherwise lead to a decrease in the levels of flood protection.

Access to the footpath at this location may be limited at times whilst maintenance work is on-going.

The work to remove the grout will take one to two weeks to complete followed by a further one to two week period of re-sealing the joints with new grout.

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