Environmental tests for Grenfell ‘contamination’ take place after months of campaigning

Environmental tests for Grenfell ‘contamination’ take place after months of campaigning

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Further environmental tests for possible contamination from the fall-out from the Grenfell Tower fire are being undertaken this month, just before the second anniversary of the disaster.

They follow months of campaigning by residents for further tests following revelations by fire toxicology expert Professor Anna Stec, of chemicals which could cause cancer and breathing problems in the soil near the Tower.

A team from AECOM are doing the first tests and are planning to share their preliminary findings at community workshops in late June. They will produce a report next month detailing what they find.

The 20 test locations include the communal area between Barandon and Testerton Walk very close to the Tower, as well as Kensington Memorial Park and Avondale Recreation Ground.

Other test sites include Henry Dickens Estate, the West London Bowling Club and community gardens at Darfield Way and the St Quentin Community Kitchen Gardens.

Two soil samples 5cm deep will be taken from each spot and experts will take  more samples 10-15cm deep at Wayne Fleet Square, because it is close to the Tower and was in the “plume area following the fire and where debris was found”.

In April, north Kensington residents met staff from AECOM and the scientific advisory group which is overseeing the work to suggest spots which should be tested.

They told the teams about places where they found debris from the 24-storey Tower. The fire on June 14, 2017, claimed the lives of 72 residents and made hundreds more homeless.

At the end of last month, 20 community representatives from the Lancaster West, Silchester, Bramley House and Henry Dickens residents’ associations, Notting  Dale advisory board and the St Quentin Community Kitchen Garden joined the AECOM team for a site walkover.

They watched them surveying the spots they planned to survey and shared more information about places they saw debris rain down from the fire.

They were joined by Paul Nathanail,  described as “a Suitably Qualified Person”, who is checking the methods they use.

In April, Professor Stec told a residents’ briefing, which the LDR Service was invited to join, that she had not found any asbestos in the samples her team took.

Meanwhile, residents on a housing estate just over half a mile from Grenfell are also due to hear the results of what scientists discovered there.

Hammersmith and Fulham council commissioned RPS Consulting to carry out tests at the Edward Woods Estate.

Public Health England advised residents that:  “People with gardens in the local area should continue to use their fruit and vegetables as normal, ensuring that they are washed and peeled before cooking or eating.”

By LDRS Reporter Julia Gregory

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