July 13, 2008

Eco-Houses ‘Are Killing Swans’

A MIDLAND environmentalist has claimed an eco-friendly housing scheme may be responsible for polluting a nearby beauty spot leaving four swans dead.

Ian Carroll, who is part of Sand well Swan Watch, believes that the Mar City development of 150 homes on contaminated land in West Bromwich may have led to problems at Mill Pool lake, off Rydding Lane.

The developer used state-of-the-art technology to blast out chemicals from the former WH Keys factory site, off Church Lane, to make way for eco-friendly homes.

MarCity is the first to use the system and director Rob Johnson told the Sunday Mercury last week that 'the results had been staggering'.

But last night Ian, of West Bromwich, said he believed the chemicals may have travelled via a brook to Mill Pool and soaked swans in the greasy residue. The pollution off the lake eventually led to the death of four cygnets in 2006.

"I think that the swans at the lake may have been contaminated by the grime that came from the WH Keys site," he said.

"We had to rescue a family of two adults and four cygnets from the lake as a result. Unfortunately the cygnets didn't survive.

Now birds seem to keep away from the pool because they must have realised it's not a safe place to be."

Ian added: "About 20 years ago a similar problem occurred from the same site which is what made me originally believe the WH Keys development could be responsible."

The WH Keys site is one of many connections to Mill Pool which could be responsible for the pollution.

However, it has not been established where the chemicals may have come from.

Solihull-based MarCity transformed the area which was contaminated and littered with empty drums and muddy oil.

The land was originally deemed unfit for residential housing but the process used by MarCity was considered to have beaten any problems that would have come from this. The firm used an innovative extreme heat treatment to clean 35,000 tonnes of soil.

Now the properties are being hailed as the perfect eco-homes and boast air-source heatpumps which extract warmth from the atmosphere for heating.

The homes will also be fitted out with the country's first 100 per cent environmentally-friendly kitchens.

Last night MarCity refused to comment.

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