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Councillor Paul Porgess SMBC

LibDem Councillors

Councillor Paul Victor Kraus Porgess is a Chartered Chemist.

He said in the press, citing his professional qualifications that the Vale View Primary School site was not contaminated.

He is a fool or a rogue because it was subsequently proved to be entirely contaminated with lead, arsenic and brown asbestos.


Email received 2nd January 2008 at 18.42

Sorry at delay, I had no free time before Christmas. You could email me your information.

I have been told that you wanted to see, under the Freedom of Information Act, the notes I made when examining the details of the trial pits at Harcourt Street. These have now been sent to the Town Hall.

I do resent your last sentence, you clearly don't know me. The issue is NOT one of party interest, but of honesty.

-----Original Message-----
From: sheilaoliver []
Sent: 16 December 2007 22:07
To: Cllr Paul Porgess
Cc: Peter Devine
Subject: Not interested

Dear Councillor Porgess

It is interesting to note how disinterested you are in meeting me and examining the documentary evidence I have regarding the contamination at Harcourt Street. Given my experience of LibDem councillors, this is exactly what I would have expected from you.

You are paid to represent the people and not your party's interests.


Email received 3rd January 2008 at 16.49

The information you were after is on the copy of the plan of the site you requested under the Freedom of Information Act. That shows the sites of the boreholes and trial pits made by the GMGU on the site. It also shows the boundary of the school site and the remaining open land. My notes show the three sites where, in my opinion, hazardous substances were found. In most there were infill materials but these were inert, hence there are no notes at these points.

I was puzzled by the presence of benzpyrene, but you have explained that by your statement regarding coke ovens.
The laws on tipping changed in the early 1970s, previously tipping was not regulated. At the time I organised a well-attended conference on effluent treatment in the non-ferrous metallurgical industry.

Even after the law changed unauthorised tipping still took place. A clay pit on Salvesen's land in my ward had a licence for inert land fill, but I indentified chemical substances tipped there. At the time I did report that to the council's Chief Executive. Certainly waste from Kellogs went in there, and after the tip was filled and covered, one day the generated methane caught fire and the neighbouring buildings had to be evacuated. Then came the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and the consequent circular 2/2000. Amongst its aims is the bringing back damaged land to beneficial use through redevelopment, and developing technical solutions and promoting best practice.

A further bit of information, that may show you my interest. When the planning application came in for building on the former Adswood Tip at Midland Road, Bramhall, I spent many hours looking through the analyses of the materials from boreholes there. I compared these with the guideline values for contaminants posing significant harm, many contaminants in the boreholes were greatly above the guideline values. I was an objector at the planning enquiry, but the Inspector did not agree with my argument because there are best practice building techniques that can be used on contaminated land without danger to construction personnel or future users.

If you could leave your files at the Town Hall, I would be able to look through them. I promise to return them to you after that.

-----Original Message-----
From: sheilaoliver []
Sent: 02 January 2008 18:50
To: Cllr Paul Porgess
Subject: Re: Not interested

Dear Councillor Porgess

Thank you for your reply.

This is an issue of children's safety; for me that comes above all.

The information I have is mostly from old records. I don't have a scanner, so I am afraid I can't email you.

I was a LibDem voter of 25 years. The experience I have had of them over the past 5 years makes me distrust them. I would be delighted to find an honest LibDem councillor who was interested in the needs of local people.

I will try to give you a brief overview of what I have:

Greater Manchester Geological Unit should have done investigation pits (for which I have paid) on land at Harcourt Street which the Council doesn't actually own. They decided not to bother with those.There were no investigation pits or boreholes at all over the footprint of the building or over the football pitch. I have documentary evidence from the 1930s - 70s that this is exactly where the rubbish was tipped. I have a document from 1974 from the Council's own archive which stated that the land had been intensively tipped from 1954 to 1974, at a time when no records were kept, and in that document the Council states that the land was unsuitable for building because of the tipping on the site. Three planning applications were refused in 1974 because of the dangerous, tipped state of the land. We have anecdotal evidence from local people. My husband grew up there. He said he remembers as a child tankers coming to the site and pouring liquid into the ground and rats coming up squealing. A local lady said that when she played on the site in the 1950s there was blue sticky stuff which stuck to her shoes. Her mum was furious because her shoes subsequently disintergrated. We have evidence from the chauffeur of the Managing Director of the site at what went on illegally there. Gates used to be opened at strange times and Cussons tankers used to come, presumably with caustic soda. Jackson's Brickyards are notorious because of the illegal tipping activities allowed by that company. There was an interesting legal case regarding Jackson's Brickyards, the details I have somewhere. There are similar former Jackson's Brickyards nearby in Manchester and Denton which have never, ever been built on because of contamination.
The coke ovens for the brickyards were on the site from the 1890s. I believe that these are likely to be responsible for high PABs. I understand things like arsenic in the clay used for the bricks will have gone into the atmosphere and then fallen back to earth on the site.

We have photographic evidence taken by local residents of the large number of pieces of asbestos found in one trial pit. The next day these had been removed and the Council claimed only one piece had been found.

Under BS 10175 which GMGU claims to have complied with they should have consulted the Environment Agency at the outset, which they obviously didn't and they should have carried out the investigations in a strict grid pattern, which they obviously didn't.

The Zone B site at Adswood tip was also a Jackson's Brickyard opened - like Harcourt Street - in 1922. They have the same layout on OS maps from the 1930s - 1950s. They were both tipped from 1954 to 1974 at a time when no records were kept. Whelmar Homes, the housing subsidiary of the parent company of Jacksons Brickyards, which was Christian Salveson, wanted to develop both sites in the early 1970s. The Council refused on grounds of contamination. Christian Salveson complained to the Secretary of State, won their case and three sites were purchased by the Council from Christian Salveson. These were Linguard Lane, Adswood Tip and Harcourt Street. At Linguard Lane in 1983, despite the Council stating that they did not feel there was anything terrible on the site and despite it just being for factories and not a primary school and nursery, many investigation points were carried out in a strict grid pattern. At Zone B Adswood Tip a site of similar size to Harcourt Street, despite the proposed development not being actually over the infilled rubbish pits (unlike Harcourt Street), in 1994 40 boreholes and 33 trial pits were sunk, and this was in adition to the 64 boreholes and 176 trial pits previously sunk - all in a strict grid pattern. I have a document obtained under the FOIA which states that you felt this was not enough. Absolutely staggering double standards - where the Council wants to prevent development you go to massive lengths to push safety issues - involving the Health Protection Agency and the Director of Public Health. Where the Council sees £ signs all the safetly issues go straight out of the window. I am perfectly willing to show you those documents. It makes you and Hogg look so hypocritical.
In addition there are the traffic issues highlighted in my letter to the Express today - more lies and incompetence from the Council which you failed to question. There are massive public open space issues - the replacement of 14,000 + sq m of public open space with what is already public open space, the making of little old ladies and toddlers walk almost a mile to partake of the multi use games area which won't be of any use to them, and the fact that more public open space was snaffled for the last minute Grampian condition turning circle and the fact that more public open space will be taken to fence off the toxic hotspots.

I think the Planning Committee should be forced to resign, with the exeption of Councillor Harding (and Councillor Bagnall).

Local people are very, very angry with this incompetent and dubious council. The cost has gone up to almost double in just one year and no-one on the Executive has turned a hair at this. There is another suitable site at the Fir Tree where local people need the school, children's centre and adult education facilities, where there are no contamination or traffic problems. It is now not a failing school. There is no need for special drainage or to have the utility services laid on. They want to sell that at a knockdown price for housing. This no longer makes any financial sense and the District Auditor is interested.

What on Earth is going on? All local people were prevented from asking FOI questions (totally illegally) for six months until I managed to humiliate the Council at Westminster. Within hours the information began to flow. It turns out the Council was saying it would take 84 hours to remove Donna Sager's maybe four folders on this to a desk where I could read them, flicking through first to remove anything embarrassing to the Council. A criminal offence was committed by that FOI refusal.

Maybe none of the above bothers you. It scares the hell out of me.

Kind regards


Email received 4th January 2008 at 13.33

I was interested in contamination of the site proposed for the school. The survey results did not indicate any concerns there. The site where benzpyrene was found was some distance from the school site, beyond the old tennis court and in an area of existing open space that would remain. If undisturbed it should not pose any problems. The risk to health depends on having a pathway to transmit the hazard.

I have no direct experience of the selection of the pattern of boreholes. According to the reference book I have been using the selection is pragmatic. It clearly demands a professional judgement, and I assume that GMGU possesses that. I cannot make a comparison with the Midland Rd site, I have thrown away the notes I made when I looked at the trial results. You will appreciate that the amount of paper that comes through is vast and some orderly disposal is required after all the Public Inquiry was some time ago. The Midland Rd site was not surveyed by GMGU but by another consulting company used by Persimon Homes.

-----Original Message-----
From: sheilaoliver []
Sent: 03 January 2008 19:18
To: Cllr Paul Porgess
Subject: Re: Not interested

Dear Councillor Porgess

An interesting reply!

Could you please explain why the number of trial pits and boreholes is so low compared to Adswood and also not on a strict grid pattern, as would be demanded by BS 10175, and your expert opinion about the fact that 50% of trial pits showed contamination hotspots would be useful.

You didn't think to question the presence of benzopyrenes further then, as I - a not very intelligent typist - did. I not only questioned it, I found the source (the coke ovens) for myself.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Email received 7th January 2008 at 12.15

Thanks for the information on benzpyrene. I am well aware of the dangers of this substance, and have been since my undergraduate days. I then visited the Chester Beattie Institute and as a consequence I have never smoked. I am also wary of barbecues and burnt toast.
As you state the danger occurs if there is contact, oral, dermal or by inhallation. To pose a significant danger, there has to be a route for that contact. As the substance is buried there is little chance of contact. Also, benzpyrene is a high molar mass molecule, thus it has low volatility and the risk of inhalation, when buried, is minimal.

-----Original Message-----
From: sheilaoliver []
Sent: 06 January 2008 20:39
To: Cllr Paul Porgess
Subject: Re: Not interested

a]pyrene is readily absorbed by the oral, inhalation, and dermal routes of exposure (ATSDR,
1990). Rats given benzo[
a]pyrene in starch solution by gavage (100 mg) or in the diet (250 mg) absorbed
40% or 60%, respectively, of the administered compound (Chang, 1943). The absorption of
benzo[a]pyrene from the gastrointestinal tract of mice and cats is enhanced when it is solubilized in
vehicles possessing both lipophilic and hydrophilic properties (Ekwall et al., 1951). Once benzo[a]pyrene
has entered the small intestine, it is solubilized by bile salts and absorbed (Ermala et al., 1951).
In rats exposed by inhalation to 1 μg/L radiolabeled benzo[
a]pyrene for 30 minutes, monitoring of
excretion over a 2-week period showed nearly complete recovery of radioactivity (predominantly in
feces), indicating nearly complete absorption (Sun et al., 1982).
in vitro conditions, 3% of an applied dose of benzo[a]pyrene permeated human skin after 24
hours. When tested in several animal species, the permeation was highest in the mouse (10%) and lowest
in the guinea pig (0.1%) (Kao et al., 1985). Following topical application of radiolabeled benzo[
to the skin of mice, Heidelberger and Weiss (1951) recovered most of the radioactivity in the feces within
16 days, indicating significant absorption of benzo[
a]pyrene through the skin.

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