An MP representing residents living in houses built on a former Birmingham landfill site has criticised the council for its delay in cleaning up the toxic land.
Steve McCabe (Lab Hall Green) said the residents of selected properties in Graith Close, Bach Mill Drive, the Launde, Willson Croft and Priory Road in Hall Green had been let down by delays including plans to wait until after Christmas to make the land safe.
Mr McCabe said they had been told the land was contaminated three years ago and he felt the council had prevented them from getting on with their lives.
"I just find the whole thing ridiculous," he said. "I'm prepared to accept they do not want to do the work over the Christmas period but the only reason we are in this position is because they have not done the work before.
"From all parts of the council, from the council leader right through to every single councillor to the officers, they do not think this is a priority.
"If it was their property, it would have been done by now. You see how quickly they can change cars belonging to council members but they don't care about the people who have to live on contaminated land.
"The work to clean up this land has been plagued by delays for months. I know a number of my constituents would rather the work started as soon as possible. But the council has decided to delay yet again and I hope residents were consulted before the decision.
"I want the council to get on with the work and will be extremely worried of another council foul-up if nothing happens on January 3."
Last year, householders were told to keep young children, especially girls, out of the garden because of infertility risks linked to the presence of high levels of arsenic, cadmium and other poisonous chemicals in garden soil.
The residents later formed an action group aimed at speeding up the clean-up process.
Linda Beech, spokeswoman for the Priory Mill Action Group and a resident of Bach Mill Drive, said she had been told by the council that tests would be carried out in her garden on December 6.
She said: "I just hope they will come on December 6 to do their extra soil samples and say they will come to do the remediation so people can get on with their lives.
"Those with land that is not contaminated on the estate still cannot sell their property as local estate agents are reluctant to sell them. If we do enter another year and if we are still being fobbed off, then we will have to take it further."
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "Following initial approval in July, Defra requested we carry out further investigations before remedial work could begin.
"Due to the time taken to carry out this extra exploratory work it became clear it would no longer be possible to complete the remediation before Christmas or New Year.
"In order to allow residents to enjoy the festive period and also minimise the health and safety risks which would result from the site being unnamed and exposed during the holiday break, a decision was taken to delay the start of works until after the New Year.
"Officers visited every property affected by the delay and hand delivered a newsletter fully explaining the situation."
A spokeswoman for Defra said essential tests had to be carried out before the remediation could begin.
Last year firefighter Roger Best received a letter telling him to keep his young daughters out of the garden.
Mr Best is one of 74 homeowners to receive the letters from Birmingham City Council. The residents were told their children were at risk of infertility if they came into contact
with contaminated soil. In addition Mr Best, who lives in Graith Close with his wife Kelly, aged 34, and their two daughters Cydnee, aged 11, and nine-year-old Chloe, was told that the survey he paid for before buying his house did not mention the contamination because it was not the most expensive survey on offer.
Mr Best last year said: "We are just ordinary people and we do not understand any technical jargon. I would never have asked about toxic waste in the garden in the survey as everybody buys in good faith.
"Why are these people trying to get into a cat fight over the health of our children?"
Last night Mr Best said his family were unable to get on with their lives and hoped Birmingham City Council would clean the land soon.
"The girls are still not allowed in the garden," he said. "They have to play in the front. We are just in limbo waiting for something to happen."
He said so much time had been wasted already for the council to take samples when the contamination was first announced and he could not understand why time was being wasted again to carry out further tests.
"It seems like they are going around in circles," he said. "We want them to clean it up as soon as they can."