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Scientists investigating residents exposure to chemicals from Berkeley Group’s The Green Quarter in Southall

Two scientists from Imperial College London will be meeting with residents in Southall on Sunday (16 April 2023) to explain more about the work they are doing researching residents’ exposure to chemicals from Berkeley Group’s The Green Quarter development on what was once known as Southall Gasworks.

In recent years, residents near The Green Quarter, which was also previously called Southall Waterside, have raised health concerns following the development of the brownfield land.

The two scientists from Imperial, Holly Walder PhD student in Environmental Research Group and Dr Ian Mudway senior lecturer in the School of Public Health will be discussing their work and inviting residents to be part of their studies at a meeting at the Dominion Centre, The Green, Southall, UB2 4BQ on 16 April 2023 at 3.00pm

Local campaigner group, Clean Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH) has been highlighting the issue for many years as well as trying to raise it with Ealing Council and national authorities for a full investigation.

In 2020, The Guardian did a report on the site – Is my neighbourhood ‘poisoning’ me? Living in the shadow of a gasworks redevelopment

Angela Fonso, co-ordinator of the Clean Air For Southall and Hayes said: “Obtaining scientific evidence which may identify a unique chemical signature for the Green Quarter could be a significant step forward for the CASH campaign in gaining recognition that excavation of contaminated soil and construction has caused significant health effects.”

Ms Fonso said despite assurances from Ealing Council, residents feel little is done for them. “A member of CASH regularly detects noxious fumes when walking along the Grand Union towpath along the boundary of the site and another member of the group recently experienced a strong solvent like odour in front of Berkeley Group’s hoarding on Beaconsfield Road which caused throat irritation and nausea.

“Despite regularly reporting odour incidences to the environmental protection officer, the complainant is never informed how and when their notification of odour nuisance is investigated. We are disappointed that our ward councillor and leader of Ealing Council Peter Mason and Ealing Council have consistently failed to protect a vulnerable community

Ms Fonso added: “After years of gasworks production, the soil at the site was highly contaminated with chemicals harmful to human health. Soil excavation caused these chemicals to become airborne. Benzene which is carcinogenic and naphthalene, possibly carcinogenic were detected at high levels during air quality monitoring. Public Health England in 2019 said that naphthalene levels needed to be reduced as a matter of urgency. Despite soil remediation, residents living on the Green Quarter will never be allowed to have fruit and vegetable patches on the site.”

Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party told EALING.NEWS: “It is good news that Imperial College are researching the effects that Southall residents have endured from the redevelopment of the gasworks. The lack of proper monitoring by the authorities has been one of a long list of failings. I hope the government and council are paying attention and take action as a result.”

On its website promoting The Green Quarter, Berkeley Group says: “The Green Quarter by Berkeley is one of the biggest regeneration projects in West London that is transforming sites into a sustainable, unique and nature-rich place where communities thrive. With nature and biodiversity at its heart, residents at The Green Quarter can enjoy acres of green open spaces, including two new parks, wetlands, beautifully landscaped gardens and new community areas.”

EALING.NEWS contacted Berkeley Group for a comment.

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