Residents reassured after five-month Wisbech soil survey finds no significant risk

A FIVE-month environmental survey on a five-mile stretch of the former Wisbech Canal between Wisbech and Outwell has revealed the land is not contaminated.

The site, which was turned into a landfill between the 1950s and 1970s, has been found to contain no significant risk to the public.

The survey was carried out by specialist consultant ESI on behalf of Fenland District Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk.

It involved sampling soil and groundwater to test for the presence of a wide variety of chemicals plus the measurement of ground gases, which could have been produced in the waste materials within the former canal.

The consultants’ report, which will be available to view on the councils’ websites, confirms that chemicals within the soil pose no significant risk to health and that the generation of ground gas is low, with little or no gas escaping from the contained landfill. No significant risk to health has been found following analysis of the groundwater and its uses in the area.

Cllr Brian Long, Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “All the sampling has been completed and our consultants have analysed the results. I am delighted that we can now reassure residents that the consultants have confirmed that the site is not considered to be contaminated land.

“This investigation has now provided us with one report for the whole area which can be used to support planning applications or property sales, reassuring anyone wishing to buy or build in the area that the site is safe. This removes the uncertainty that previously existed regarding the condition of the land on this site.”

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Cllr Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council portfolio holder responsible for the environment, added: “We would like to thank everyone who has assisted with this investigation. We are grateful to residents and landowners who allowed access to private areas of their land and co-operated with the contractors during monitoring visits.

“In addition, the local knowledge, photographs and other information that has been provided throughout this project has really helped to guide our work and have proved invaluable in identifying the most appropriate sampling locations.

“We hope that we will now be able to make those resources available to others who may be researching the history of the area.”

Two drop-in sessions have been organised to enable local residents to discuss the findings of the investigations face-to-face with the project team. The first will be held on Monday (6 December) at Outwell Village Hall, with a second on Tuesday (7 December) at the Blacksmiths’ Arms in Elm. Both will run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

The consultant’s report along with a non technical summary can be downloaded from or