Bradford Council will draw up an action plan to deal with a chemical time bomb which could lie beneath the surface of land across the district.

It will produce an extensive official register for the first time of sites which bear the legacy of the textile industry and its dyeing processes, chemical works, tipping and coal mining. Government regulations requiring Bradford and other local authorities to prepare detailed registers of their contaminated sites will be brought in by the Government in summer.

The Council will then have a duty to get the owner to carry out remedial works at any site where there could be "significant harm". In urgent situations the Council could step in to do the work itself and charge the owner.

Bradford Council has never kept a register although it says it knows areas where there will be problems.

And there have already been a number of pollution bombshells when contamination came to light during excavations for housing and other developments.

Allotment holders at Frizinghall have been given notice to leave at Christmas because a cocktail of chemicals has been found in the soil, including arsenic. It will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to put it right.

The chairman of the Council's waste management sub-committee, Councillor Keith Thomson, said there was likely to be "just about anything" because of Bradford's heavy industry background. He added they could expect to find a "chemistry lesson in the soil" which could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to put right.

Regeneration committee chairman Councillor Dave Green said they were likely to go through the Local Government Association with concerns about the funding, because the implications could be huge.

The Council is preparing for the register as action is being planned for a problem land-fill site at Odsal Stadium where an £80 million sports and leisure development is planned.

Worried residents have been pressing for action for more than five years.

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