• April 16, 2015


The operation to remove contaminated silt from Peel Harbour on the Isle of Man is rapidly descending into farce. It may yet shape up to be the worst man made pollution incident the Island has faced.

From information we have been able to ‘glean’ because very little has been forthcoming.

1) No road closure order was obtained for the Quay road adjacent to the works which the Department has now instructed the contractor to remove road closed signs from.

2) An initial plan to let material drain and stabilise had to be abandoned when it became clear that the drying silt gave of a pungent smell.

3) Initially the wagons employed to remove the ‘soup’ (a descriptive term a senior Departmental figure used privately to describe it) were overloaded and shed material on virtually every hill and corner (eventually the load size was reduced).

4) The police shamefully looked the other way while vehicles frequently shed part of there load explaining it wasn’t an insecure load if the mess was cleaned up.

5) But it wasn’t cleaned up. By day 2 an extra road sweeper had to be deployed.

6) The ‘soup’ to use the Departments own term was ‘not toxic’ and yet today three days into the operation the Government have finally released information saying it contains Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc. Several of these elements are ‘toxic’ it’s only the level of their toxicity which is the issue. (Note interestingly Cadmium is relatively safe when wet it is only when dry that it is dangerous – Oh! of course that’s what is going to happen at the dumpsite it will dry out).

And what about the dump site:

A purpose built engineered site with a secure membrane – a ‘bund’ as the Minister described it.

No plan seems to have been available why?

Well our information is that a number of DOI plant operators were asked one weekend if they would like some overtime and told to just dig a hole to the rough dimensions of the site. No Plan!

The ‘bund’ much talked about by the Minister is just a few sheets of dirty plastic overlapped. (Fortunately those who want to check this should check the MTTV report today)

No engineered site.

No secure membrane.

So there it is! ‘Chaos on the Quayside’ and a dirty hole full of ‘toxic soup’ rapidly taking shape at Poortown – the only question mark is over the level of toxicity.

All we’re short of is Sid James and Charles Hawtrey!

The trouble with those ‘Carry On Films’ was there was always a sequel and when we get the sequel to this we will definitely not be laughing!

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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