Thursday 1 March 2018

Dogged Duffy pursues Brent Council on asbestos contamination

Not satisfied with the Mayor's statement on the Paddington Cemetery asbestos issue at Full Council on Monday, Cllr John Duffy, who relinquishes his councillor role in May, has returned with further questions to Chris Whyte of Brent Council:

I wrote to the Mayor and he informed me my questions would be answered. I had hope that Brent council would be more transparent and rely on evidence not hear say. To me its important that any investigation is fact based so residents, the school and grave-owners would be satisfied that the council are transparent and has not reverted to their original position of deny everything , just ignore the evidence and rely on secret internal meetings to keep information from the public.

Mr Whyte you were not at either Carpender Park or Paddington Cemetery when the asbestos was discovered. The only witnesses at Carpenders Park are the operatives who discovered the Asbestos who have not been interviewed, the only evidence is the waste transfer certificate which confirms the fact  that 60kgs of hazardous waste was sent for disposal. The only witnesses at the discovery of the Asbestos found in Paddington Cemetery have not been interview, the only evidence is the asbestos discovered on May 9th was sent for analysts to Tersus Asbestos specialist and they confirmed  it was Asbestos Cement(Cyrysotile)  the remaining Asbestos was sent to Brentwood Essex and weighted 30kgs and the waste consignment note further confirms the fact that is was Asbestos cement (Chrysolite).Just to put the amount of asbestos in prospective 90Kgs is the equivalent of 90 plaster boards (2m x sq) broken up. So Mr Wythe as you were not present at either find , I suggest we concentrate on the evidence which speaks for itself.

I understand all operatives will now be interviewed 10 months after the discovery of the Asbestos. I Have told Brent legal department I am happy to wait until all the operatives have been interviewed to  determine what were  the operational failings with respect to the transfer of the soil/ rubble from Carpender’s Park in 2015 . I believe the evidence will supports me that  the soil/ rubble was knowingly transported  to Paddington Cemetery. It beggars belief that  you are suggesting officers cannot not tell the different between soil and rubble. However we must agree to wait until after all the witnesses have been interviewed.

Mr Whyte I asked the Mayor for the CEO or the Lead Member for the Environment to make a statement. I asked that" the statement should also include plans for compensation to the grave -owners who have buried love ones in section 3D who have 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 ". You have not answered those questions. Instead you inferred I am  misleading grave -owners  with a hurtful suggestion .This is nonsense and is yet another attempt to undermine me and stop any questioning of  how the councils managed to deliver the  rubble ( including Asbestos) instead of the soil / earth  which is normal for  graveyards to Paddington Cemetery.

I assume Brent council officers have read  the reports concerning  the description of there soil / rubble on the mound. If not I suggest you look at the evidence. We known there was three finds of Asbestos one in August 2015 ( Carpenders Park ) and two in Paddington Cemetery in May 2017. We known the soil / rubble for Paddington Cemetery came from Carpenders Park after the original 60 KGs of Asbestos was discovered. We know that 30 Kgs of Asbestos was found in May 2017.  In August 2017 Eton Environmental took 60 sample (appendix 3 of their report ) and they give the exact location and description of the samples taken .Of the 60 sample taken 17  were found to have asbestos this confirms 28% of the sample had Asbestos including one sample that had several large chunks of asbestos cement. We also know that of the 60 samples 57 contained rubble ,that is 95% of samples contained rubble, some called cement  or bitumen ,but all identified as rubble. Officers can also visible verify  the present of rubble by inspecting the  residue from the graves, where they will witness boulders as big as footballs which are clearly visible.

I would suggest officers stop making smears against me and concentrate on the facts. I ask again now that I have pointed out the evidence that 95% of samples contain  (you would be hard put to get that level on a bomb site ) rubble will the CEO or Lead member for the Environment  now confirm that  they will compensated the grave -owners who have buried love ones on the mound and who paid for soil /earth interment (as per their contract)  and ended -up with builders rubble (Q1)? The council position that the mound is not heavily contaminated with builders rubble is unsustainable and the longer the council  remain  in a state of denial, the more I believe it undermines their credibility with the public .If the Mayor, CEO and Lead member  for Environment believe that is OK to buried people in ground , which sample show is  95% of rubble instead of soil is acceptable they should confirm that to the residents of Brent. I would also like confirmation on the full cost to  the council of this fiasco  and hope the Head of Finance will confirm the  cost the council tax-payer, which I believe is around the million pound mark (Q2)?

Mr Whyte as well as the financial cost and the health and safety aspects of the officers reckless decision not to halt the transfer of  soil/ rubble to Paddington cemetery after the discovery of asbestos. The council have destroyed pathway to bury people and have buried people in areas with no proper drainage. All this because of the failure of officers to condemn the waste at Carpenders Park and halt the transfer. Yet I see no humility from officers concerning  the actions  undertaken by officers which have led to the Council turning  parts of a  beautiful  Victorian listed graveyard into a brown field site full of rubble.

Please ensure you answer the 2 questions mentioned above concerning compensation and the full cost.

Mr Whyte I have copied in the CEO, as I am not sure she was aware of the high level of rubble present in the sampling

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