A local stink officer has been hired to log stenches in an area where residents have complained about foul smells for more than four years.
Residents in Southall have been worried about possible pollution from a former chemical factory and gasworks site Since 2016 that is being turned into a 500-home development.
Developer Berkeley Group has been cleaning chemicals including benzene, naphthalene and cyanide from soil on the former industrial site.
After a change in leadership in May, Ealing Council has hired a dedicated environmental protection officer to log complaints about “odours” near the site.
Ealing council leader Councillor Peter Mason, whose ward borders the site, now promises an “open, inclusive and transparent” council that will “engage with residents and the challenges they face”.
Cllr Mason wrote an open letter to local campaigners, Clean Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH) in May addressing concerns that the council used their “woefully” limited powers as an excuse to “stonewall” any complaints.
He said: “Residents must have confidence that we are working to protect their interests and are not unduly swayed by the needs and demands of developers.
“The appointment of an environmental protection officer who will be based in Southall will make it easier for residents to report and also ensure that complaints are logged, witnessed and evidenced in order that they can be used in any future statutory abatement notice.”
The council say legal advice is being commissioned to work out what conditions are needed to take action against Berkeley Group.
Residents are also still waiting for an independent air monitoring station to be placed nearby.
Angela Fonso of CASH is pushing for the council to issue the developer with an abatement notice and encourages residents to report issues to the new council officer or on the OdourCollect app.
Here at MyLondon, we’re doing our very best to make sure you get the latest news, reviews and features from your area.
Now there’s a way you can keep up to date with the areas that matter to you with our free email newsletters.
We have seven newsletters you can currently sign up for – including a different one for each area of London and one dedicated totally to EastEnders.
The local newsletters go out twice a day and send the latest stories straight to your inbox.
From community stories and news covering every borough of London to celebrity and lifestyle stories, we’ll make sure you get the very best every day.
To sign up to any of our newsletters, simply follow this link and select the newsletter that’s right for you.
And to really customise your news experience on the go, you can download our top-rated free apps for iPhone and Android. Find out more here.
She said: “I would like to hope it’s a positive sign, but I’m sceptical given that this situation has been going on since 2017, with hundreds of complaints.
“Nothing has been done to hold Berkley to account for polluting the community. I think they’ve basically ignored us, gaslit us and denied our experience.”
Ms Fonso and Ealing Independents founder Leslie Bunder both say Ealing Council already commissioned legal advice about serving an abatement notice in 2019, but failed to take action.
Ms Fonso added: “I’ve said for a long time that this odour is a statutory odour nuisance. It’s all well and good logging, but the council are not willing to serve an abatement notice.”
Ealing Council have been contacted for comment. Berkeley Group has also been approached for comment.
If you are concerned about air pollution in Southall, please email [email protected]