THE practice of dumping toilet waste on a railway line running through the region has been branded “disgusting”.
Many of the trains running on the line between Wrexham and Bidston, which runs through the heart of Flintshire, are not fitted with toilet tanks so waste is released straight onto the track.
Hawarden councillor Clive Carver has described the practice as a health and safety hazard and has demanded that provisions are put into place to protect residents.
He said: “They are releasing it straight onto the railway track without any treatment or anything.
“At times the train gets up quite a speed and if it is on an embankment it is going to run down the hill and anyone with property or play areas in the vicinity of the railway embankment could be sprayed.
“Train companies must stop doing it.”
A spokesman for Arriva Trains Wales, which carries out services on the line, confirmed toilet waste was being released on the track.
They said: “The majority of Arriva Trains Wales’ rolling stock, except for the Class 175, was built prior to 1997 and as standard were not fitted with toilet retention tanks.
“Network Rail, which is responsible for the railway infrastructure, carries out track cleaning and a contract is in place to clean the track bed of deposits.
“We ask passengers to refrain from using toilets when trains are stationary in any station platform on our network.
“All rolling stock built prior to 1997 will be withdrawn from operation by 2020.
“Those built since 1997 will be fitted with toilet retention tanks and the practice of deposits onto the tracks from trains will be eliminated.”
Cllr Carver said that although the issue was taking place right along the line, his main concern was with a patch at the end of Overlea Drive in Hawarden.
He said it was on an embankment and a new development being built next to the line could be affected.
He said: “Consent had been given to build properties near railway embankments.
“The showhouse is just six feet from the line – there will be run off from the track.
“It is a health and safety concern.”
The development, being carried out by Redrow, is for 45 properties to be built on land at Gladstone Leigh, which runs alongside the railway line.
Cllr Carver added: “It has probably been there for more
than 100 years at a guess but standards have improved over the years. What might have been acceptable at the time is not acceptable now.
“The electrification of the line would resolve the issue.”
At a meeting of Flintshire’s full Council, Cllr Carver issued a written question to the cabinet member for environment Cllr Bernie Attridge, asking whether matters like this are taken into account when planning applications are submitted.
He was told the legal department advised the matters were not material planning considerations.
The issue was raised nationally last year when a transport minister said train companies must stop dumping human waste from toilets on railway tracks.
Speaking in the House of Lords in November, Lady Susan Kramer said: “This is just utterly disgusting and I think it does speak to the fact that customer service has not always been at the centre of railways because customers I think are very concerned about this issue.”
A spokesman for Redrow Homes (NW) said: “We have no knowledge of any such incidents and, if true, assume it is a matter the rail service provider will address.”