THE former Dale Farm traveller site will have to be covered in hardcore building material to make it safe, despite Basildon Council tearing up concrete caravan pitches just two years ago.

The council spent £7million of taxpayers’ cash to remove illegal traveller pitches in October 2011.

But heavy machinery will now return to the Crays Hill site to cover the ground with a hard base to make exposed asbestos and other chemicals safe.

The works have to be carried out by the council before the site can be returned to the green belt.

Tony Ball, Basildon Council’s Tory leader, said: “Specialist consultants will be responsible for designing a proposed scheme and the costs associated with that.

Costs can and will be recovered from the landowners as this continues to be a part of the enforcement process.”

The council has published its draft remediation plan to make the site safe after it was criticised by the Environment Agency for carrying out the eviction without a required waste disposal permit and for leaving asbestos and other pollutants exposed in earth mounds piled up to stop travellers returning to the site.

Although details over the costs involved in the latest work at Dale Farm are not yet known, the council will have to remove toxic waste to a hazardous landfill site, fence off the site during work, set-up air monitoring stations to detect dust or asbestos escaping into the air and ensure vehicles entering and leaving the site have wheels washed.