Very productive Arnolds Fields -Launders Lane meeting held.


Beam Park Councillor Trevor McKeever today writes in the Havering Daily.

On Monday 1st August the council and multi agencies came together to seek a solution to the Arnolds Field / Launders Lane fire situation.

A complicated timeline of ownership and some enforcement has occurred since 2002, this has been exacerbated by one landowner being in prison and going bankrupt and another buying the land before new laws were introduced to make the landowner responsible for the contents of the site. These new laws cannot be retrospectively applied to the new landowner.

The meeting was about how best to solve this problem and finding out the remit and limitations of each agency.

Present were the London Fire Brigade, Environment Agency, leader of the council, chief executive of the council, Mayor of Havering, and councillors for the ward, alongside various other departments of the council.

The meeting lasted nearly two hours, at some point more questions than answers were forth coming

But I’m pleased to say this was a very productive first meeting which was broken down into short- and long-term objectives. 

To make the site safe, first we must find out what is in the land, so an intrusive site survey will be conducted, we are aware that the site is some 15 hectares with a possible depth of up to sixty foot deep.

Air pollution equipment will be brought in to monitor air quality as it was stated that the one air monitor which is sited about a mile away is not sufficient.

Water samples will be taken and checked for pollutants and also to see if it has been any ingress into the water table which may affect the biodiversity of our rivers and streams.

The London Fire Brigade requested that a hydrant be placed as near to the site as possible, this would allow them to attack any fires immediately, therefore reducing the severity of the fire and its ability to produce acrid smoke. The cost of putting in a new fire hydrant is estimated to be around £80,000.

The cost of renumeration to the site would run into tens of millions of pounds, a full costing would depend on the intrusive site survey results. 

An engineered solution may be another way forward, methane trenches could be dug all around the site in addition to methane pipes across the site, as was done back in the 1970/80 with land called bates which backed onto Guysfield Drive, this is now part of Ingrebourne Hill and Hornchurch Country Park.

I am fully aware that residents would like an immediate solution to this problem, as would I, unfortunately I fbo not think this is possible, but putting in mitigation may help to solve some of the issues in the short term.

We cannot forget that this issue has been with the Borough for nearly twenty years and was not addressed by the then Tory council that neglected to act.

I am encouraged that the new administration has taken this issue very seriously and seek to resolve this as soon as possible.

A further meeting has been called for four weeks’ time.

Councillor Trevor Mckeever

Beam Park Ward

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