PART of a Newport recreation ground is to be closed to the public as a precaution after corroded barrels and evidence of chemicals were found at the site.

Evidence of PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, was found in a small area of the north Glebelands. PCBs are classified as persistent organic pollutants and were used in industry as fluids in transformers and capacitors, and additives in PVC.

Production of them was banned in the 1970s after research found they were potential carcinogens.

A small area of the north Glebelands is being fenced off following an extensive investigation of the site by specialist consultant in contamination.

An inspection was undertaken after a grant was received from the Assembly to assess sites historically used for tipping.

In recent years, a group of protestors has campaigned against a new school being built on another part of the recreation grounds because it was once used as a tip.

But the city council has always insisted that the land could be made safe and work is now under way on Glan Usk Primary School, a replacement for crumbling Victorian school buildings in Durham Road.

A spokesman for the council said although the final results of the investigation were still being analysed, preliminary results had drawn special attention to an area of land near the river in which corroded barrels and evidence of PCBs were found.

He said any potential contaminants were well below the surface and would not be disturbed through general recreational use.

The decision to fence off the area was taken as an added precaution over and above recommended action.

It would prevent any unauthorised activities which might disturb the lower surface.

"We will now be looking at ways of addressing these findings such as securing funding to conduct further investigations and to take remedial actions."

Steps were also taken to make sure any workers on the site were aware of the report, and its findings, and appropriate measures were taken before disturbing the soil in that area.