QUAYSIDE erosion at a Hampshire industrial site has sparked fears that contaminated material could pollute a neighbouring creek used by sailors and paddleboarders.

Council bosses are being urged to launch an investigation following the decision to create an exclusion zone around part of the 41-acre Eling Wharf.

The site is owned by Associated British Ports (ABP), which has issued a warning over the condition of the quay’s wooden retaining wall.

Totton councillor David Harrison described subsoil at the wharf as “heavily polluted” said he had asked New Forest District Council to examine the situation.

“I have contacted the senior environmental health officer and asked them to investigate any possible health risk and harm to the environment arising from degradation and erosion of the quay,” said Cllr Harrison.

“I have had an acknowledgement to say they are looking into it.”

The wharf, which overlooks the spot where Eling Creek meets the River Test, has been an industrial site for centuries. Over the years it has been used as a chemical works, a coal importation centre and a tar distillery.

ABP has installed wells which “capture” contaminants.

A company spokesperson said: “When ABP acquired the site the historical contamination had already been well-documented so we initiated a major programme of works to ensure the improvement of ground conditions within the site.

“Once these works were agreed with New Forest District Council and the Environment Agency, we were able to implement a contamination capture system.

“We installed a series of wells on the site that capture dense and light nonaqueous phase liquids, which are subsequently removed from the area and taken to a specialist treatment facility.”

ABP bought the wharf in 2018 and immediately vowed to tackle the “deep-seated challenges” that were a legacy of the site’s industrial use.

The company outlined its plans at a meeting of Totton and Eling Town Council.

Port director Alistair Welsh said: “Booms have been put in place to prevent seepage [into the water] and bore holes have been made in the ground to clean up the pollution.”