'"Stop Poisoning Southall" Plea

New documentary about health dangers caused by the gas works development


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Ealing Green Party has produced a hard-hitting documentary about adverse health effects which locals say have been caused by the development of the old Southall Gasworks site.

In "'Stop Poisoning Southall", which can be viewed on youtube here, residents tell Meena Hans about breathing difficulties, eye problems and cancer diagnoses all experienced since work started in 2016.

Berkeley Group was given the go-ahead to regenerate the 88 acre (36 hectare) former industrial land in 2010 by the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson, after being rejected by the council. It will create thousands of homes, shops, a primary school and leisure facilities.

Tonnes of earth have been cleaned during the work and although the developers say they had met "regulatory requirements" residents have complained of poor health since the work began four years ago.

Council Leader, Julian Bell has previously said that the council considered statutory nuisance action but they would have had little chance of success because the Environment Agency confirmed that the measures taken ''are over and above what is required."

Public Health England has also said there was "minimal" risk to health at the site. However, the BBC investigated and showed reports carried out for Berkeley Group in 2018 to environmental health and air quality scientist Prof Roy Harrison. He said levels of some substances "do present a threat to health" and the fact the area still smelled suggested "some contamination remains on the site and there is a potential for future risk".

Community group Clean Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH) are seeking to pursue legal action against Berkeley Group and believe Ealing Council and the Environment Agency could also be at fault. They launched a crowd-funding campaign to help with legal bills.

Backing CASH’s legal action is barrister and QC Jo Sidh as seen in the Green Party documentary.

Jo Sidhu

The Berkeley Group have commented: “Berkeley has completed its soil remediation works, which were undertaken in accordance with the applicable regulatory requirements.

“All work has been closely monitored and approved by the authorities, including the London Borough of Ealing and the Environment Agency. Any legal challenge will be vigorously opposed.”

An Ealing council spokesperson said: “We take residents’ concerns very seriously. After concerns about odour from the Southall Waterside development we asked Public Health England (PHE) to review air quality monitoring data and provide a report on possible health effects. "PHE has now published three reports which show that it is ‘unlikely that there is a direct toxicological risk to the long-term health of the nearby population’. A fourth report is being worked on and it will be published on the council’s website when we receive it.

''The Environmental Protection team is aware of one recent complaint received over the bank holiday Easter weekend. The Southall Waterside and nearby Conway’s plant were however both closed over that period with no works being carried out on site. No direct reports of odour from residents have been received by the team."

April 23 2020 (updated)


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