Collapse of Colwyn Bay pier sparks asbestos pollution fears

A prominent business leader in North Wales has called for the immediate demolition of Colwyn Bay pier, as he fears that the beach could be polluted with asbestos if it collapses.

A large section of the historic Grade II-listed pier collapsed into the sea last Wednesday.
The pier has been in a state of ruin for years and, in 2015, a judge said it was unsafe and in danger of collapsing into the sea at any moment.
It had been valued at “minus” £600,000 to £1m.
Roy Bichan, vice-chairman of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and chairman of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s board, says he’s concerned that if the pier collapsed a large quantity of asbestos would end up covering the seashore.

He said the largest building on the pier has asbestos in the roof and in its sidings.
Mr Bichan, from Rhos-on-Sea, said: “Conwy Council have been pretty clear the buildings have a large quantity of asbestos in them, which was of course the ‘miraculous’ material used at the time.
“To be fair, in my opinion the council are trying to do the right thing but are being blocked by the likes of Cadw.
“To demolish safely is the only option. If it collapses, asbestos would end up in the sea and on the beach.
“It would be disastrous as the beach would have to be sealed off. It would become a major health hazard.”

He added: “The pier has been an eyesore for far too long. I'm afraid the people who want to save it do not live in the real world.
“ People blame the council but they’ve only very recently owned it. The decline of the pier started years and years ago with its former owners.
“The situation we have now is a shambles. If it collapses and asbestos is floating around, it would be a devastating situation.
“If it was demolished and cleared up, and when the promenade improvements are completed, that area will become a fantastic asset to the county of Conwy.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy council said: “Reports on the buildings have confirmed that asbestos is present and as such any works to the pier will be carried out in a safe, carefully planned and controlled manner.
"The council is fully aware of the risks and continues to strongly advise members of the public to stay away from this dangerous structure”.