PEOPLE living near a huge pile of unknown contaminants near Keynsham are urging Bath and North East Somerset Council to take action amid fears children will be “at risk” if they access the site.

Near Queen Charlton, south west of Keynsham, a huge site of outbuildings half-submerged in water, anaerobic digesters built without correct planning permission, and a quarry filled with so much unknown material that it now looms six metres above the ground, is causing concern to its neighbours.

The site, which is bigger than the village of Queen Charlton itself, has been disowned by the company who owned it and now nobody is keeping the dangerous site secure, neighbours say.

Rob Duff, of Protect Our Keynsham Environment, a group of local residents calling for the site to be made safe, said: “I have been a town planner since 1983 and this is the worst site in the green belt I have ever come across.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dan Norris, and Edmund Cannon — who are all vying to be elected the area’s MP on July 4 for the Conservative, Labour, and Green parties respectively — were among the estimated 30 people who held a protest outside the gates to the site on Wednesday, June 5, calling on B&NES Council to take action.

Mr Duff told the protest: “We don’t know what was tipped over there in the big hill. We don’t know what contaminants are there other than we know asbestos was tipped and woodchip. Other than that, it was uncontrolled.”

“We are a kilometre from Keynsham, we are only yards from houses.

“So the residents here would like to know what’s on there. They would like the council to take action and investigate the site under environmental protection act powers and if possible involve the Environment Agency and either tell residents ‘its safe, we’ve cleaned it up , everything’s gone’, or make it secure.”

A statement from the group added: “There is strong evidence in court documents and planning documents which refer to asbestos being deposited or found on the site. We won’t know for sure until B&NES Council does an inspection.”

Signs on the gates read; ‘Danger: Deep water’ and ‘Caution: Guard dogs on patrol’, but nobody appears to be guarding the site. Campaigners said that the company which owned the site has now dissolved, passing ownership of the site to the crown.

“The crown will not act, they will not take responsibility of the site because they don’t have to take responsibility of the site. The land has literally fallen on them because the owners have gone away, the company has gone away.

“The only way this site is going to be made safe is if Bath and North East Somerset act and here, on behalf of the residents.

“Come and have a look at the site, come and investigate it, and please help the residents ensure that they are safe, their children are safe, and the whole area is safe for the future.”

A spokesperson for Bath and North East Somerset Council said: “We have taken planning enforcement action by issuing an Enforcement Notice requiring the removal of the unauthorised anaerobic digester facility on the site. This notice remains in effect on the land and would bind any subsequent owner of the land.

“We are also considering taking further planning enforcement action in relation to the unauthorised waste deposited on the land.

“Despite their differing political views, the candidates for North East Somerset and Hanham who attended the protest were unanimous that action should be taken.”