EXPERTS from the Environment Agency have given approval for fuel tanks at a proposed new petrol station and convenience store in Ludlow to be put underground.

But the change of heart over the site in Bromfield Road has not gone down well with Ludlow councillor Andy Boddington, who is worried about the risk of pollution.

“The Environment Agency unexpectedly stood on its head,” said Andy Boddington.

“In its previous submission at the end of last year, the agency emphasised that the site is in a “sensitive groundwater area”.

He says that a change in regulations means that the agency is no longer obliged to object to applications that involve putting tanks underground where they are near aquifers.

“But I can’t see the changes make any difference to the way the Bromfield Road application should be assessed,” added Cllr Boddington.

“Indeed, last November, the agency said it would still be ‘minded to object’ under the new rules.”

“The need to have sensors to detect leaks shows that there is a risk, albeit a small one, of a leak.

“If a leak occurs metres below the ground, a major excavation will be needed to reach it. There are likely to be several days during which residual fuel could continue to leak into the water table.

“The Environment Agency was established to protect the environment. I think it is letting us down by not maintaining its objection to below-ground fuel tanks on Bromfield Road.”