Work to clean up an acid tar waste dumping ground on the outskirts of Chester has moved one step closer to reality.

Hoole Bank tar lagoon is located in Hoole Bank, off The Street, near the M53 motorway. For years in the 1950s and 1960s, the site was used by industrial firm Lobitos Oilfields Ltd (now Lubricants UK Limited) to dispose of industrial waste from its Ellesmere Port refinery.

It was an accepted and legal practice at the time and carried out in agreement with Cestrian brick Limited, a company which has since been liquidated.

The disused site, measuring about 100 metres by 125 metres and about 90cm deep, has since been classed as contaminated land and designated as a 'special site', and it has been left up to the Environment Agency to decide how the site should be tackled.

It identified Lubricants UK Limited, now a BP company, to effectively clear up the acid tar pit and remove, or reduce the risk of, environmental impacts at the site. It formally requested the firm submit a remediation plan in April 2022.

Initial site investigation work was carried out at the site last year, with site samples collected.

Now plans have been given the go-ahead for the company to carry out further investigations, by collecting soil samples in shallow hand-dug pits, trial pits and boreholes up to 40 metres deep. The work would also check geological conditions and allow for future groundwater and gas monitoring.

As part of the investigation, bushes, undergrowth and a few trees are expected to be removed. Once completed, the trial pits would be reinstated and the vegetation would be expected to grow back in time.

Information gathered from the site would help inform the voluntary remediation of the site, a complicated cleaning-up process which aims to restore and protect the affected area.

While no formal timescale has been set out, it is hoped the works could be completed by the end of 2027.