Monday 26 February 2018

Duffy calls for statement on Paddington cemetery asbestos at tonight's Full Council meeting

Cllr John Duffy (Kilburn, Labour) has written to the Mayor of Brent requesting that Carolyn Downs (Brent CEO) or Cllr Tatler (Lead Member for Regeneration) make a statement on the Paddington Cemetery asbestos issue at the begining of tonight's Full Council meeting.  The meeting will be live streamed HERE.

This is Cllr Duffy's letter to Cllr Chohan:

 As you aware the issues of Paddington Cemetery has been highlighted by officers in this weeks Kilburn Times, saying the results of test for Asbestos is at a low level which is true, albeit he samples were taken after the Asbestos was removed and now only a trace of the Asbestos can be found. 

Whereas it true that tests now show a low level of Asbestos now, however the main issue has always been did the council knowingly dumped builders rubble in Paddington Cemetery. The truth remains the same once they found the 60 kgs of Asbestos in Carpenders Park, all consignment to section 3D in Paddington Cemetery should have been halted immediately .It was reckless for the council to continue to delivery waste without a full screening process being carried out to ensure no Asbestos or indeed builders rubble remained in the loads.

It is clear the council is fully responsible and the council in-house Audit Advisory Committee (AAC) Report clearly confirms this (now that it has been reluctantly released) when it states:
  "The Audit review report concluded that procurement procedures within the Cemeteries Service were inadequate at the time that work was undertaken at the cemetery ".
 In layman's terms this means the council had no procedures to ensure the so called London Clay (rubble), which was to be delivered to Paddington Cemetery, was screened and was safe to used for burials plots.

Mr Mayor, you may not be aware that at the moment residents pay approx. £3k for a burial plot, which is describe as being buried in Earth on the councils web-site. However what residents did not pay for or expect was their loved ones to be buried in builders’ rubble. Neither did they expect, that when a re-opening of a grave takes place the excavation has to be carried out by a specialist team in masks and protective clothing. This is clearly the legacy of the reckless mistake by Brent council of failing to   implemented adequate screening processes.

Mr Mayor I am the first to recognise and I am grateful that officers / Senior Councillors accept their past mistakes and have subsequently decided to publish the AAC report. I am also grateful to the officers for agreeing to interview all staff (which I assume is underway) that were present when the incidences took place in August 2015 and May 2017. This was a glaring omission from the AAC report and is ultimately the only way we can confirm how much Asbestos was discovered and indeed indicate how much asbestos remains. Hopefully this will also expose whether the workforce were instructed to work on the mound after the discovery of Asbestos on May 9th 2017 without protection. I furthermore believe the change in the council position to ensure that the council will now liaise with the school and local residents, before the removal of the rest of the contaminated waste takes place is welcomed by everybody concerned. This should ensure adequate safety measures are in place. However I believe it is important that the council continues to be transparent and does not revert to secret meetings where residents are banned from attending or even reading the report.

Therefore Mr Mayor I am hoping for the sake of clarity and transparency, you will grant time at the beginning of tonight’s Full Council meeting, to allow either the CEO or the Lead Member for the Environment to make a statement addressing the issues mentioned above concerning Paddington Cemetery. I am sure the statement will take less take less than 5 minutes and reassure residents/ grave owners of the transparency of the council. The statement should also include plans for compensation to the grave -owners who have buried love ones in section 3D who paid for soil /earth interment and ended -up with builders' rubble. I believe that head of finance should also give an estimate on the total cost to the council, which I believe will be somewhere around the 1 million pound mark.

Mr Mayor please replies to all people who have been copied in, as they have all indicated they are interested parties.

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