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Southall residents set to protest over pollution from two incinerators which they say Ealing Council is not taking any action to help them

Residents across Southall will be staging a protest on October 29 2022 to highlight their concern and fears over two incinerators at an industrial estate in Southall which they say is causing danger to their health by being so close to a residential area.

The incinerators, located at Balfour Industrial Estate on Johnson Street, have been of concern to locals for over a year.  During this time, the residents have been contacting Ealing Council and local councillors but claim despite this, no action has been taken and fumes continue.

Angela Fonso, who also co-ordinates local campaigning group Clean Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH), told EALING.NEWS how she has been impacted by the two incinerators and why the protest is taking place outside Balfour Industrial Estate.

“This has been going on for longer than a year but was very noticeable during the long hot summer. I am protesting because the burning plastic odour causes indoor air pollution in my home resulting in coughing, wheezing and chest irritation. CASH is organising this protest because the group has a successful track record in highlighting the injustice of air pollution from the Green Quarter and one positive outcome is a leading university is researching soil in the vicinity of the former gasworks. Two incinerators in a residential area are also examples of environmental injustice blighting the health of residents in a socio-economically deprived area. ”

Ms Fonso said she has been contacting Ealing Council on a regular basis but no one has come to help them. “I have reported the smell of burning plastic on numerous occasions to the Environmental Protection Officer (EPO) for Southall and on one occasion he said that he detected odour at the nearby car servicing garages but was unable to ascertain the origin. The odour is prevalent at the weekends, but the EPO is unavailable during this time period or before 8.00pm and after 4.00pm on weekdays.

“There has been no support from local councillors who haven’t responded to emails on the issue of air pollution from the incinerators, despite allegations that one of the incinerators doesn’t resemble those manufactured by the company advertised on the outside.”

Ms Fonso added that having the incinerators in a densely populated residential area in Southall wouldn’t be allowed in other parts of Ealing: “It is wholly inappropriate to have two incinerators virtually side by side in the middle of a residential area. It is unlikely that these companies would be operating in a W5 postcode. Ealing Council needs to treat the odour as statutory odour nuisance and serve abatement notices. Also, the Council should investigate asthma data and the complaints that the odour is causing respiratory irritation.

“The two incinerators aren’t an isolated issue, CASH’s attention was recently drawn to a tree recycling company on Sussex Road a short distance away from the incinerators, causing tremendous dust and odour, resulting in nausea and headaches. Southall is a classic example of environmental injustice impacting a community who are predominantly brown, black and disadvantaged.”

Councillor Athena Zissimos, Ealing Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the environment including streets, parks, air quality and climate change, said: “It would be great to see Ealing Labour Council take residents’ concerns about a burning plastic smell seriously. More effort is needed by the Council to ascertain where the smells are coming from so that notices can be served on premises such as these incinerators in Southall.”

She added: “Liberal Democrats say that all Ealing residents deserve clean air. The Liberal Democrats are asking the Council to take action.”

EALING.NEWS has approached Ealing Council for a comment.

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