Wednesday 21 February 2018

Asbestos row: Duffy accuses Brent Council of sanctioning personal attacks on him

Cllr John Duffy has returned to the issue of asebstos contamination in Paddington old Cemetery with an email to councillors and others accusing the council of sanctioning personal attacks on him in the face of his attempts to unearth the facts over the issue.

Duffy wrote:

Brent Council has taken the extraordinary step of sanctioning personal attacks on me, These attacks  are a complete distortion of the facts and many are  plainly untrue. The Officers of Brent council have published what they call a fact sheet on there Web-site and handed out a similar document at a public meeting, which names me.. 

The officers are suggesting I am the cause of unhelpful rumours, which have left people feeling scared and uneasy instead of responding to the needs of my residents.

This is of course nonsense many of the facts stated are commonly agreed However the document seeks to mislead Brent residents by mixing -up facts to negate the real issues. All the issues I have revealed are all supported by evidence, unlike the officers facts which are based on the their views and have no evidence then other than "The Audit review report concluded that procurement procedures within the Cemeteries Service were inadequate at the time that work was undertaken at the cemetery and that management consider the recommendations from consultants to proportionately mitigate the soil contamination identified" Basically saying they had no control systems at the time  and in layman's terms the contaminated waste that was sent to Paddington Cemetery was not screened. I have been in the waste management business for over 40 years , I can tell you  that the idea that officers cannot not tell the difference between soil ( which would be usual for a graveyard  ) and builders rubble  ( which ended up in Paddington Cemetery) is frankly staggering.

I believe the import of builders rubble including Asbestos  ,instead of  soil has been going on for a number of years ,in fact since 2010/11  and the audit report confirms  that fact.In 2010/ 11 we paid £21K for  work including the supplying and laying of top Soil. The officer who was in charge went of sick  and the  person who took charge queried the quality of the  work and soil. He instructed that the contractor who carried out the work was not to be used for future work". 
If we move forward to  August 2015 , we sees avery similar scenario another assignment of soil/Clay  which was bound for the section 3D on the mound in Paddington Cemetery.However this time the soil  to back fill a hole following the removal of a tree roots .The  assignment was found to have asbestos within it .The Brent Officers believed  it to be asbestos  and double bagged it and sent it West London Waste Authority for disposal  , the consignment note confirms that fact said it was classified as Hazardous waste and weighted 60 KGs.  
The  scenario continued and further shipments of waste was sent to section 3D in Paddington Cemetery to backfill the hole .During a excavation of 3D  for a burial on the 9th May ( 20 months after delivery of the shipment took place ) and on the 18th May 2017 , asbestos was  discovered and a sample was  sent to Tersus Asbestos specialists for examination and they conclude on the 17th May  that  it was asbestos cement (Chrysotile) the remaining( hundreds of pieces )  weighting 30Kgs was sent to Brentwood Essex .The consignment note confirms that fact saying it was Asbestos cement ( Chrysotile ) .
Every since the area (3D ) was used  for burials the gravediggers have excavated large amounts of builders rubble .However on May 9th Asbestos was found.Brent council     instead of stoping all new work  still instructed the contractor to continue to  excavate for new burials . The test result came back from Tersus Asbestos Specialists confirming Asbestos Cement ( Chrysotile) on the  17th May 2017. A further find of Asbestos took place on the 18th May by the contractor. Brent officers still instructed  the contractor to continued to  carry out burials until May 30th some 21 days after the initial find of asbestos and 13th days after confirmation that the find of up to a hundred pieces was  indeed asbestos cement. The  officers assertion that the gravediggers wore disposable coveralls for these burial is untrue  neither were they informed of the Tersus results  or given any specialised training. Work continued on the mound throughout out the summer and operatives were not given  any protective clothing or breathing equipment. I am sure now that the Brent Council have reluctantly agreed to interview staff, they will confirm the facts.
I produced photographic evidence that operatives were working on the mound .I supplied pictures given to me by a resident which  were taken Monday June 26th *2017 The resident was concerned  that the work-force / public were  not protected from hazardous dust on Mound arising from works that were taking place. Brent council in their attempt to smear me and distortions the facts  they took  the absurd   positions of saying the "Photographs (are) not conclusive. Works and precise location not identified". They are pictures of a graveyard , with gravestones .Its a fact we have  been using stones as historical marker since Stonehenge . How Brent Officers can say gravestones do not a portray a precise location beggars belief.  As for the date of the work you would only need to interview the workforce who were bussed in to do the work and see if they were informed that Asbestos had been confirmed on the mound and were they issued with protective clothing and was  the area sealed off to protect the public. I believe the photographs confirm the fact  that work continue on the mound and residents band the workforce was put at unnecessary risk.
The two specialist reports by Eton Environment ( Sept 2017) and Delta -Simon (Jan 2018)  took place well after the ( around a hundred  pieces of )  asbestos had been removed following their discovery in  May 2017 .The Eton Environment survey  found 28% of their samples were positive for asbestos  including  several large chunks of Asbestos cement which had high content. Whereas both the surveys point to a low risk situation now, the surveys was taken following the removal of around a hundred pieces of the Asbestos found  on the 9th and 18th May 2017 .Furthermore the reports do not comment on the level of contamination/ risk that was present when the  Asbestos was discovered and the risk associated with it removal undertaken by Brent Council. However the reports confirm the fact "No asbestos sampling was undertaken in association with this (those) reports" the only asbestos sampling report was Tersus  and the consignment notes which  confirm the fact that  asbestos was cement (Chysotile) " and the  consignment notes confirm the amount of Hazardous waste found so far has been 90 KGS 
The issue about the council being open is not sustainable. The facts confirm they have been forced to publish the internal Audit report, it is clear they tried to ensure the press and the public were excluded from all meetings . They were forced  to interview staff who were present  at the discovery of the contaminated waste in Carpenders Park. They were forced  to interview the gravediggers who carried out the burials. They also never published documentation from Tersus Asbestos specialists which showed they were aware it was Asbestos Cement ( Chrysotile) on the  17th May 2017. They have been forced to publish  relevant  (not all as at least two consignment notes are missing) documentation. They did not inform the school that work was being carried out  to remove asbestos .The idea they did not contact the school/residents not to raise alarm is nonsense. The councils Audit Report did not mention the School or the affect on residents while the removal of asbestos was taking place. The council had no intention of informing the school or indeed the residents.  They reluctantly called a public meeting where  they ensured no one  but themselves were given platform , instead allowing a panel of four council officers (accompanied by a further eight in the audience)  to put the council view  ensuring only they could be heard.

At the meeting council officers tried to avoid the real issue the which is how consignments of clay changed to builders rubble (with Asbestos)  and did they recklessly put people at risk by continuing  to carry-out works after the Asbestos was found on May 9th and were they right to store the contaminated  waste by the Green Space.

The Audit  report the council relies on, do not address the issues. I  believe that the  evidence bears our the fact that the council instead of preparing soil  that had ben screened for the burial of residents , they knowingly transferred to Paddington Cemetery sub standard soil /rubble including Asbestos. I believe we need an independent Health and Safety investigation (why did the council chose an audit report?), which looks at the facts outlined above and believe the council should be forced to implement that impartial investigation , including the issue of compensation for resident who bought burial plots in 3D section of the mound.

* Not the  24th as originally state 

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