Campaigners step up fight against Bescot sleeper factory plans

By George Makin | Wednesbury | News | Published:

Campaigners battling against plans for a controversial factory in Wednesbury have said they will fight it every step of the way after Network Rail said it is applying for planning permission this month.

Campaigners are fighting against plans for a sleeper factory in Wednesbury

The proposal for a manufacturing plant on Bescot sidings producing 600,000 concrete railway sleepers a year has sparked intense opposition by residents who claim airborne pollution could lead to cancer.

'The People of Wednesbury Say NO to Network Rail' group is now planning to step up its campaign which has already resulted in a total of 6,000 formal objections and signatures on a petition opposing the plan.

The proposal has sparked fears of noise, air pollution and traffic congestion.

Carol White, a spokesperson from the group, says 21 schools within a one mile radius of the proposed site could be affected by silica used in the manufacture of cement.

She said: “The amount of dust around these places, it’s like a snowstorm.

“All that concrete dust contains silica and that is highly dangerous. Now this stuff is going to be pumped into the atmosphere and the children of the area, and the adults, they are going to be breathing in this stuff.”

“Once it’s in your system, it doesn’t leave.”

She added: “So the children of the area in these 21 schools, if they stay in the area and do their all their schooling here, they are going to have an adulthood of ill health and possible early death.”

But Network Rail has said the factory will not produce cement which will instead be brought into the plant in sealed lorries and unloaded in an airtight area within the building so it can’t escape into the atmosphere.

Once submitted, the planning application will go to Sandwell council’s planning committee.

George Makin

By George Makin

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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