ESSO sign is an unhappy one since tiger’s land is toxic

Esso sign

March 6, 2018 – The ESSO sign used to mean happy motoring plus a goodly number of jobs for local people at the company’s Bowling oil terminal. But Esso has become just another four-letter word linked to dismay and exasperation in the lexicon of West Dunbartonshire Council. Negotiations are currently going on between Esso and the council for the land which runs between the A82 trunk road and the River Clyde.

It has been tipped over the years for various new uses including an industrial estate and a stadium for Dumbarton Football Club.  Esso closed the terminal and made their workforce redundant a number of years ago.  But the huge petroleum multi-national didn’t follow the community spirited path Diageo did when they lit out of Strathleven Bonded Warehouses with the loss of 1600 local jobs. Diageo “sold” the extensive site at Gooseholm to the Strathleven Generation Company for just £1.

And since then it has been converted into a large BBC television studio and film centre plus extensive housing, a retail park and shops and garages at Lomondgate, creating many jobs in the process.

Everyone loved the Esso jingle and admired that tiger in their tank, but no one is enamoured of the stance the company have taken over the land at the old Bowling terminal.

Councillor Jim Bollan in particular is exasperated, so much so that he told the Council that their dealings with Esso over the Bowling site had cost local taxpayers £3 million.

Bollan is worried to the extent that he put forward a motion calling for a halt to any more dealings with Esso until such times as a core condition of going ahead with the proposal would be cleaning up the badly contaminated site.

He received no support however when explained the site could prove to be dangerous for people working on the new road.

His motion read: “Because we know there are dozens of heavy toxic contaminants on this site, including lead and asbestos which was found in 25 samples and can kill someone ingesting just one fibre, the council should make it a core condition of further talks that rigorous decontamination of the whole site is undertaken and paid for by Esso.”

Cllr Bollan said: “The decontamination work also needs to be monitored independently of Esso. There are stringent rules about this including having to take the contaminated soil off the site.

The Council has a responsibility here. If we agree to purchase this site to ensure it is safe for people to walk on and work on anything other than full decontamination will not deliver this security for local people and site workers.”

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