ELSECAR residents say plans to dig out 'toxic coal ash' in the heart of the village could cause lethal health problems from cancer to birth defects.
But the man behind the scheme says they are "scaremongering" and the project is simply a small scale reclamation of land much like other old industrial sites.
Villagers claim the scheme for Hill Street will create airborne toxic dust containing arsenic, lead and mercury and could result in problems like heart and lung disease and impaired bone growth in children.
They say the medical information is from a 2010 report, Coal Ash, issued by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Earth Justice.
Applicant Mario Monfredi wants to extract 40,000 cubic metres of coal ash from the site between the Fitzwilliam Arms pub and Elsecar train station. The works would last a year and the land would then be filled up with "inert waste" - crushed brick and concrete.
The scheme is expected before Barnsley Council's planning board in September.
** The full story is in the Barnsley Chronicle, dated June 27. **