Health Concerns Over Southall Development

Dr Onkar Sahota has written to Environment Agency after local complaints

Southall Waterside  - Berkeley Homes
Artist's impression: Southall Waterside Berkeley Homes


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Concerns are growing in Southall over a huge housing development at the old gasworks.

Local London Assembly member, Dr Onkar Sahota AM, has written to the Environment Agency, over the Southall Waterside development, being carried out by Berkeley Homes.

The 88 acre site is one of the capitals biggest redevelopments and is expected to eventually house 10,000 people along with providing a leisure and business hub.

To enable the development the historic gasometer, built in 1930 by Gas Light and Coke Company, and a well-known landmark is being dismantled.


( photo courtesy Jim Lawes)

Damian Leydon, Operations Director, Southall Waterside told us, “The gasholders at the former gasworks were decommissioned several years ago. Currently National Grid is dismantling the blue gasholder. As an important part of the site’s history, Berkeley West Thames will be retaining and reusing elements of the Gasholder across Southall Waterside to pay homage to the areas illustrious industrial history. Parts of the gasholder will be kept and given a new lease of life as a unique part of the landscaping for Southall Waterside. The dismantling is anticipated to be completed in December 2018.”

Meanwhile, Dr Sahota has written to the Environment Agency with worries about local air quality problems associated with the project. 

He says the site is close to a number of natural and man-made waterways which could be at risk of contamination creating the potential for harmful impacts in areas beyond Southall and could constitute a failure to meet requirements set out in environmental protection regulations.

Alongside the smell coming from the site, a recent BBC report revealed that residents are reporting health problems including nausea and breathing difficulties.

In his letter, Dr Sahota asked the Environment Agency to investigate these concerns he says,
"The residents of Southall cannot be expected to live with this harmful situation any longer, and swift action must be taken after a robust investigation...

“I am a medical doctor with 25 years’ experience, and I find this matter hugely concerning particularly due to the presence of asbestos and benzine at the site, both dangerous substances which cannot be allowed to drift into residential areas.

“It is fortunate that we are now in the summer holidays, as the proximity of a number of schools o the site could put children at even greater risk of harm. As children’s lungs are still growing, any harm from air pollution can be life altering and even stunt their lung development.

“It is vital that the Environment Agency conducts a thorough investigation and that necessary action is taken as soon as possible.”

Damian Leydon, responded on behalf of Berkeley, “We are aware of the concerns raised by Dr Onkar Sahota regarding remediation on site at Southall Waterside. The works currently underway are essential in enabling the planned regeneration of the 88 acre, former industrial site. When complete, the development will provide much-needed new homes for nearly 10,000 people, along with new community facilities, and 40 acres of public open space.  More than two thirds of the work is now complete, so we will soon be moving to the next stage of construction.

“We appreciate that remediation and construction on this scale can cause disruption. We have a number of stringent measures in place to mitigate this, including continuous air and soil monitoring, and odour suppressant machines which currently operate 24/7. The Environment Agency and Ealing Council have oversight of all works, and regularly conduct site visits to review data and sample organic compounds.”

August 6 2018

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