Jon Cruddas the Dagenham and Rainham MP today writes in the Havering Daily on the ongoing fires at the Arnold’s Field/Launders Lane site in Rainham.
The meeting I called for from Havering Council took place on the afternoon of 1 August. The meeting involved the senior leadership of the Council (officers and political leadership), London Fire Brigade and the Environment Agency. Havering did not invite the landowner nor their planning agent, given the nature of much of the discussion, that was probably the correct thing.
The meeting was officially minuted by Havering Council.
Actions were agreed and can be grouped in terms of immediate items to progress and then medium term ones.
- Council to bring external specialists to monitor air quality in the vicinity of Arnolds Field (it was accepted that current road traffic air quality sampling is not relevant for monitoring pollution from the fires). Specialists to carry out intrusive sampling across the site to determine the nature of materials underground.
- Environment Agency to check and follow up on the Court Order issued in 2017 to determine what legal powers now exist.
- Look to move the current fire hydrant to closer to Arnold’s Field to allow more effective fire fighting.
- Investigate potential and implications of the Council progressing a CPO and explore the possibility of an organisation taking on the site to sustainably remediate the land.
- Options to tackle the source of the fires – excavation and removal or some other safe and effective method. It was reported that the 15 hectare area Arnold’s Field site has layers of landfill to a depth of about 50 feet.
- There was discussion on the ideas being floated on developing Arnolds Field. There are pre planning application discussions initiated by the landowner and his agent with Havering. The point was made that until the site is made safe how can any development take place. Given that fire fighters consider it unsafe to go on to parts of the site, how could construction work be contemplated.
- The Environment Agency stated that despite the water being hosed onto the land to tackle the blazes there is no evidence of any run off from the site. They were questioned on this but maintained the position However, the Environment Agency was asked to check water quality in the watercourses in the area.
- The Council will be stepping up its communications with residents on the issue.
- A follow up meeting is to be set up in 4/5 weeks with the intention of getting updates on proposed actions.