Vale of Glamorgan Councillor Clive Williams (Independent Plymouth Ward) is demanding an immediate halt to the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s schemes to lay controversial rubber surfaces made of recycled car-tyres on children’s playgrounds in Penarth.
With just that 7 weeks to go before the council elections in May the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council had embarked on a last-minute series of so-called “upgrades” of children’s playgrounds in Penarth.
However it emerged last week [ see PDN http://tinyurl.com/zxmu6nc%5D that the “upgraded” playgrounds are being surfaced with dyed “rubber crumbs” – mostly derived from recycled car tyres .
In the USA scientists are now questioning the wisdom of using this material on sports grounds and children’s playgrounds because car tyres contain a range of chemicals which, they say, could constitute a danger to human health – particularly to children.
Cllr Williams says “The reconstituted rubber surfaces to be used in our children’s play areas is potentially extremely harmful according to very detailed research from a number of organizations throughout America, due to the chemicals in the bonding agents and the chemicals used in the original tyre production.”
He says “Dutch research states the “sprinkling ” of rubber crumbs on to artificial grass is harmful. Holland has ordered that many such sports fields are to be ripped up. The European Union research states this material is suitable for sports fields. – This is ludicrous because this product has not been out that long. They cannot say positively what the long-term results are.”
The prospect of the Vale Council being taken to court has also been raised by Cllr Williams. He says ” If tyre crumbs being sprinkled over artificial grass is deemed worthy of replacing, how much more harmful is this product in a concentrated area? I know who I would rather believe. In my professional career, I know under Health and Safety law if you are aware of an operative using a tool, you know as being suspect, you are liable to prosecution under the law.”
In his statement Cllr Williams says “I will therefore be shirking my responsibility to residents if I did not demand the Vale council stops work immediately and no reconstituted rubber is used at the play area at Cliff Walk or Old Pens. We must err on the side of caution for our children’s sake.” [ PDN Note: The children’s play area at Plassey Square – pictured above – has already been completed and the rubber-crumb surface has been laid]
Cllr Williams says that this is such an important issue, local residents “must stand up and take action” . He also appeals for professional experts in the field to come forward with their comments and advice.
It’s now emerged that the Labour controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council was fully aware of the concerns over the safety of “crumb-rubber” surfaces back in December.
On December 14th Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) asked the Vale ‘cabinet’ member for Leisure Services, Cllr Gwyn John about a series of newspaper articles indicating safety concerns about the use of rubber crumb surfaces.
Cllr John replied :- “This Administration is justifiably proud of its record in promoting sport and developing all -weather sporting facilities and we take the health and safety of our customers very seriously. We are aware of these reports and our officers are in contact with officials of both Sport Wales and the Football Association for Wales (FAW).”
At the present time I can confirm that there is no evidence of a proven link between the rubber crumb used for 3G pitches and cancer. Sport Wales has stated that the most up-to-date guidance issued by both FIFA and UEFA refutes any claims of a link and considers them to be false. We will obviously continue to monitor the situation but at present no further action is being taken”
The Vale Council then went ahead with its programme of “upgrading” children’s play areas in Penarth with rubber crumb surfaces. The play area at Plassey Square has just been completed – with a new rubber-crumb made from shredded used car-tyres.
It’s not known whether the Vale Council ever mentioned any concerns about the health risks of rubber-crumb playground surfaces in any of its “consultation sessions” with local parents.