Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Fuel Poverty Action - Windfall tax debate: these excess profits didn’t fall from a tree.

 Together, BP and Shell made almost £24 billion in profit last year. In just the first three months of 2022, they made more than £11 billion.  North Sea oil and gas bosses got a combined £25m pay rise in 2021.

 

FPA’s co-founder Ruth London comments:

 

These massive excess profits are not earned. Nobody worked for them. Nobody took a risk for them. And they didn't fall from a tree like a windfall apple.

 

They come from our bills, and from the pennies customers are forced to put aside to top up prepayment meters, while children go hungry.

 

And they go into the pockets of private individuals who are often obscenely rich to begin with. Or they get invested in extracting more and more of the oil and gas that are wrecking the climate we all depend on, while renewable energy would cost only a quarter as much, and while the government could invest in insulated homes so we don't need so much energy in the first place.  

 

A windfall tax should take every penny of the extra money that these huge international corporations have been able to demand just because the market changed and they could get away with higher prices.  

 

The energy market is upside down, with the poorest customers paying the most.”

 

Fuel Poverty Action's proposal for Energy For All [1] would turn energy pricing on its head, providing a free band of energy to ensure that every household can keep warm and keep the lights on. It would be paid for by a windfall tax, an end to fossil fuel subsidies, and a higher price on wasteful use of energy by wealthy consumers who can well afford to pay more."

 



[1] Petition on change.org has over 400,000 signatures: https://www.change.org/p/energyforall-everyone-has-a-right-to-the-energy-needed-for-heating-cooking-and-light


 

The Buttocracy hangs on to every little bit of power it can and even extends it - even at the expense of effective scrutiny

An attempt to loosen the  grip of the Buttocracy on Brent Council failed tonight when Labour councillors voted down an amndment that Scrutiny Committee vice chairs should come from the Opposition councillors so as to provide great transparency and collaborative work. Hithertoo that has been the case as Roxanne Mashari, former Chair of Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny said on Twitter:

Alarmed to hear of changes brought in at Brent Council to make vice chairs of scrutiny members of the majority party rather than opposition parties as has previously been the case. This change weakens democratic scrutiny with no tangible benefit to residents.

Unfortunately the legislation around local authority scrutiny is woefully lacking and allows councils to effectively mark their own homework and cut back and control the scrutiny function. It’s truly absurd. Legislative change is very overdue in this area.

Cllr Connely (Labour) will chair Resourcs and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee with Cllr Janice Long (Labour) vice chair. Cllr Ketan Sheth (Labour) continues to chair Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny  with Cllr Diane Collymore vice chair.

Paul Lorber, a previous leader of Brent Council and newly re-elected this time round, made the case for greater participation by opposition councillors. He said scrutiny should come before decision making, not after decisions had been made by Cabinet. Effective scrutiny needs real teeth and power. He said chairing of scrutiny committees by opposition councillors happened in other council. He was backed by Cllr Kasangra for the Conservatives.

Cllr Butt was having none of it. Such loss of power and patronage was unthinkable. In fact he was actually extending his patronage.

Clearly when there is heavy domination by one party a case can be made on democratic and representative gounds for enabling the opposition to be as effective as possible by appointing them as chairs or vice chairs of scrutiny.

The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny (202-21) Annual Survey of Overview and Scrutiny in Local Government LINK found that in 49% of councils all chairing positions are in the hands of the majority party, and in 17% most chairing positions are in the hands of the majority. In only 20% are chairing positions occupied in a politically balanced way and in just 14% are chairing positions mostly in the hands of the opposition. Importantly it  did find that scrutiny in councils where oppositon councillors hold some chairing positions tended overall to be more effective.

Shouldn't we all be in favour of more effective scrutiny?

It is worth remembering what Barry Gardiner told the Kilburn Times in 2014 after Labout won 56 out of 63 council seats on 53% of the votes LINK:

Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North, who attended the vote count, said he was delighted with the result but issued a stern warning to the group’s councillors.

He said: “I’m thrilled, of course I’m thrilled but we need to be very careful.

“It is a huge responsibility because a majority this big for any party means that we have to look within ourselves for the sort of scrutiny that we need of the policies that we ourselves are proposing.

“All of these people got elected because they managed to persuade voters they wanted to represent them in the civic centre on the council. They must remember their job is to represent the people to the bureaucratic of the council and not to represent the council bureaucrats to the people.

“We are here to be a critical voice to say where things are wrong and to set policy to change Brent for the better.”

You don't have to look just 'within ourselves' for effective scrutiny if there are opposition councillors also able and willing to do it.

 


New Brent Administration: Cabinet and Committee Posts

 

 

 

 

 

Two opposition councillors now on Brent scrutiny committees

 Full details of Cabinet, Committee chairs and Committee members in the new Brent Council adminstration should be released later today before the Council Annual General Meeting takes place at 5pm. You can view the meeting HERE.

Meanwhile following the election of 5 Conservative and 3 Liberal Democrats the allocation of seats has been agreed and  published on the agenda.  These are:


 

There are now single Liberal Democrats on the two key Scrutiny Committees alongside single Conservatives which should strengthen scrutiny if a good working relationship is established. However, Lib Dems are not represented on Planning Committee which given the prominence of a critique of new developments in their election campaign is a pity.  They also have one seat on the General Purposes Committee which in the last adminstration consisted of Cabinet members plus one Conservative. That arrangement has been criticised as being a Cabinet committee in all but name, thus centralising power, and it will be interesting to see how that situation developes.

The allocation of Liberal Democrat councillors is:

General Purposes: Cllr Lorber with Cllr Georgiou as first alternate and Cllr Matin as second.

Licensing: Cllr Georgiou with Cllr Lorber as first alternate and Cllr Matin as second. 

Resources and Public Realm: Cllr Georgiou with Cllr Lorber as first alternate and Cllr Matin as second. 

Community and Wellbeing: Cllr Matin with Cllr Lorber as first alternate and Cllr Georgiou as second.

It is worth noting the difference between allocation of seats in the council as a pecentage of the total  and the proportion of the total vote that each part achieved (latter in brackets).

Labour 85.97% (58.60%)

Conservative 8.77% (21.99%)

Liberal Democrat 5.26% (13.52%)

Other constitutional changes are made in the light of the election result. With Liberal Democrats now recognised as a group alongside the Conservatives. Each opposition group will have the right to ask a question at Council and to put a motion.


Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Why Brent should not go ahead with award of Morland Gardens contract

 Philip Grant sent the following Open Email to Brent councillors, Cllr Muahmmed Butt and Cllr Shama Tatler ;and Brent Officers Alan Lunt, Debra Norman and Martin Neil yesterday.

THIS IS AN OPEN EMAIL 

 

Dear Mr Lunt,

 

I have seen online today that you have made a key decision to award a contract for the construction of Brent Council's proposed development at 1 Morland Gardens. 

 

You may remember that in June last year you wrote to me to confirm that no work would commence at 1 Morland Gardens until all of the necessary legal requirements for the planned development (such as stopping-up orders and appropriation of land for planning purposes) we're in place.

 

Although the report on which you based your decision does not appear to have mentioned those legal requirements, I can inform you that the stopping-up order for the highway in front of 1 Morland Gardens has not been  made. You can check this with Brent's Head of Healthy Streets, Sandor Fazekas, who will tell you that the period for objections to the proposed order does not expire until 26 May, and also that objections have been received, so that there is no certainty that the order will be made (and even if it is, when that will be).

 

In these circumstances, it would be a very big risk to the Council's finances to enter into a contract for nearly £38 million when you do not know whether the planned development will be able to go ahead.

 

I also note that the councillors consulted before your decision was made were Cllrs. Butt and Tatler. As the decision was required to be made in consultation with the Lead Members for Education and  Regeneration, and there does not appear to be a Lead Member for Education (the previous holder of the post having lost his seat on the Council on 5 May), I am not sure how your decision complied with that requirement.

 

I hope that you, and Brent Council, will not proceed with the award of the 1 Morland Gardens contract until the necessary legal requirements have been complied with. Best wishes,

 

Philip Grant.

 

Decision Details

Monday, 16 May 2022

Quintain expectedly refused 'crucial' second tranche of Building Safety Fund monies for Forum House works. They will appeal.

 

Quintain Ltd have written to the residents and leaseholders of Forum House to annouce that the second tranche of funds for remedial works to the facade of the the Wembley Park building has been refused.

They wrote:

Our priority has always been to ensure that you as residents remain safe in your homes and that leaseholders of Forum House you receive the appropriate financial support from the Government’s Building Safety Fund (BSF) where required.

Since applying to the dedicated Building Safety Fund on your behalf and submitting the required evidence in December 2020, we were informed in May 2021 that Forum House is eligible to receive financial support from the BSF. We received the first portion of this funding in September 2021 which allowed us to align a team of designers and contractors with a trusted supply chain to plan and prepare the works. We submitted our final application to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) in October 2021 for the remainder of the funding we sought on your behalf in order to begin construction.

Unfortunately, we have received notice from the DLUHC that our application for this crucial second portion of funding has ultimately been declined, prohibiting us from continuing with the project at this stage. Although full funding for the project was not formally guaranteed by the DLUHC, we were not expecting this decision. Since receiving the first portion of funds to finance the initiation of the project, we received no indication that our application for further support from the BSF would be unsuccessful.

Throughout this process we have worked closely with a dedicated case officer at the Greater London Authority (GLA) and BSF since May 2021, both of which have advised our team and worked with us to ensure our application followed the requirements set by the DLUHC.

We will now be appealing this decision with the support of industry consultants and will advise you on any further updates. 

 Quintain have also put on hold work on the timber decking in the building pending assessment of new guidance.

They conclude:

We would like to re-enforce that Forum House was constructed to meet building regulations at the time it was completed in 2008. An independent fire officer, who undertook an intrusive survey on the building in late 2020, deemed Forum House safe and not in need of further fire safety measures that other buildings have had to implement throughout this remediation process, such as additional fire alarms or a waking watch.

Our priority remains to ensure that you as residents remain safe in your homes and are receiving the Government support that we believe Forum House is eligible for, should façade remediation be required.

You have 2 weeks left to apply for Brent community project funding - £2m NCIL & £0.25m Health Matters - Closing Date May 31st

 


 From Brent Council

We want to hear your ideas to improve your neighbourhood. You only have two weeks to apply for the £2.25million that is available for your community projects. 

YOU Decide is a new initiative that gives local people the final say on how to spend cash locally.

  • £2million* will be divided equally across the borough for physical improvements to local neighbourhoods, from painting and refurbishing a local community centre, improving children’s play areas, painting a mural, or installing public water fountains. The money will be split equally between the five Brent Connects areas.
  • A further £250,000** will be given out to fund health and wellbeing projects across the five Brent Connects areas. If you have ideas to help people take up outdoor gym sessions, walking groups, health screenings, vaccinations and mental health services, as well as projects that help people live happy, healthy lives for the future.

If you are a resident, community group and voluntary organisation, come together and apply for either fund through a simple application form. Applications close on 31 May.

YOU Decide is our new approach to “Participatory Budgeting” which puts you at the heart of decision-making. A series of Decision Day events where you decide on the projects that you feel would make a real difference in your communities.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, said: 

How would you spend more than £2million to improve neighbourhoods and health and wellbeing across Brent? This is your opportunity to bring your ideas to life. Building on the success of the CO2GO fund, which focused on green improvement projects, we’re now encouraging everyone in Brent to come forward with other creative and positive ideas that can get off the ground with the cash available. We’d love to hear from you so start submitting your application today. All ideas are welcome and the process is simple and easy to follow.”

If you would like to apply, or for more information, visit the You Decide page.

*This scheme is funded by the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy (NCIL), collected from developers in the borough.

**This scheme is funded by the Brent Health Matters Health and Wellbeing Grant.

Petition launched to improve Harlesden's Bramshill Open Space

Back in January My London splashed a story headlined 'London's most pathetic children's playground' about the Bramshill Open Space in Harlesden.

Now a local resident has launched a petition to Brent Council calling for improvements LINK:

 THE PETITION

We the undersigned petition the council to Regenerate the open space by removing existing playground and modernising/ redesigning. Include an enclosed dedicated dog run. Green the space as much as possible and add more seating please. The current artwork needs replacing as it has graffiti on it and is now looking tired.

There is a fantastic opportunity to enhance one of the few green spaces in the Harlesden & Kensal Green Ward. A re-design would help to make the open space more welcoming especially with the current structure obscuring the raised beds from the surrounding roads. Safer equipment for the children is necessary. At present, dog owners utilise the space the most consistently out of the local community throughout the day so a dedicated space would be great for them.

Greening the space would help to reduce carbon emissions, would give some shelter for those affected by urban heat island effect and increase the health and wellbeing of the local residents and community. Additional tree planting would help to reduce associated flood risk for the area.

Started by: Yolande Dasouza (Bramshill Village & Open Space)

This ePetition runs from 11/05/2022 to 31/05/2022.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE



Brent's new Cabinet

 Cllr Tariq Dar tweeted details of the new Brent Council Cabinet earlier this morning. (Note the Tweet appears to have been deleted later this morning so perhaps it was premature, inaccurate  or unauthorised so please take this into account when reading below) 

The Cabinet has been expanded to 10 members 8 of whom are appointed by Council Leader Muhammed Butt.  Leader and Deputy Leader are elected positions although only the deputy position was contested this year. Muhammed Butt could be leader until 2026.

There are some role swaps in the new Cabinet as well as newcomers including Dr Gwen Grahi who replaces Cllr Thomas Stephens at Children, Young People and Schools following  his defeat at the local election. All members of the outgoing Cabinet who retained seats at the local election continue, albeit soemtimes in different roles. 

Some of the portfolios have been expanded. Shama Tatler, holds on to Regeneration and Planning, a role in which she has been criticised as far too 'pro-developer.' Krupa Sheth retains Environment with the addition of Infrastructure. It remains to be seen how that works alongside Regeneration and Planning. Promise Knight's new role at housing will be challenging given controversies over the amount of truly affordable housing being built as well as the quality of housing and threats to green space from 'fill-in' plans on estates.

It is noteworthy that the gender split is now 7 women to 3 men.

The proposals are ratified at the Council AGM.

1. Leader, Muhammed Butt

2. Deputy Leader, Mili Patel

3. Regeneration and Planning, Shama Tatler

4. Safetr Communities and Protection, Harbi Farah

5. Jobs, Economy and Citizen experience, Ellie Southwood

6. Public Health and Adult Social Care, Neil Nerva

7. Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action, Krupa Sheth

8. Housing, Homelessness and Renters Security, Promise Knight

9. Children, Young People and Schools, Dr Gwen Grahl

10. Community Engagement, Equalities and Culture, Fleur Donnelly-Jackson

I presume Mili Patel will take on Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care. From Dar's tweet it is unclear who will be responsible for Finance/Corporate.

Previous Cabinet




Saturday, 14 May 2022

Councils for PR - Launch Event May 23rd 7pm


 

Councils for PR is a new campaign by Make Votes Matter and GET PR DONE! We aim to encourage our councils to declare their support for proportional representation (PR) voting for Parliamentary elections.

Join us on Zoom at 19:00 on Monday, May 23rd to hear from our speakers as to how you can contribute:

  • Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South;
  • Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales;
  • Cllr Max Wilkinson, Liberal Democrat, Cheltenham Borough Council;
  • Cllr Ricky Knight, Green, Barnstaple Town Council

In our Zoom session, we will discuss:

  • How councils can contribute to national political campaigns by passing resolutions. Many, for example, declared their recognition of the Climate Emergency.
  • Our model motion for councillors to move at their council.
  • Which councils have already passed a motion in support of PR.
  • How you can help take this fledging campaign forward and./or join our core organising team. .  

Please RSVP and we'll send you the Zoom link.

Both Make Vote Matter and GET PR DONE! believe we should today practice the collaborative and co-operative politics that PR can deliver in the future. Hence, C4PR as a joint venture.

++++++++

About our Guests:

Clive Lewis has been the Labour MP for Norfolk South since 2015. He is widely recognised as the leading campaigner for PR within the Labour Party and regularly works on a cross-party basis with the Layla Moran of the Lib Dems and Caroline Lucas of the Greens.

Amelia Womack has been deputy leader of the Green Party of England and Wales since 2019. Since taking up that post, Amelia has worked across the country, visiting hundreds of local campaigns, events and organisations

Max Wilkinson is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cheltenham constituency. Max, a former journalist, is the cabinet member for the climate emergency at Cheltenham Borough Council.

 

Ricky Knight is a Green councillor in Barnstaple and a founding member of Councils for PR.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Brent’s Cecil Avenue Housing Scheme – Where is the Scrutiny?

 Guest post by Philip Grent in a personal capacity

If you have read my recent guest post, Deputation on Poverty Commission Housing Update – Brent finally responds! , and my Deputation to the Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee meeting on 9 March, you may have noticed that something was missing. 

 

Information on the Committee from Brent Council’s website

 

The Council’s reply of 9 May completely failed to acknowledge or respond to this section of my Deputation:

 

‘One place where Brent could increase investment in social housing is the former Copland School site. It is vacant land, owned by the Council, which has had full planning permission to build 250 homes there for over a year.

 

I wrote to Cabinet members last August, when that item was on their agenda, urging them to fulfil their Poverty Commission promises, and make at least some of this development homes for social rent.

 

Instead, they approved a proposal which allows 152 of the new homes there to be sold privately. Of the 98 Council homes, 61 would be for shared ownership, and only 37 for London Affordable Rent.

 

Overall, the Wembley Housing Zone scheme claims to provide 50% “affordable housing”. But the balance of that is 54 flats at London Affordable Rent level on the Ujima House site, and only 8 of those would be family-sized homes.

 

There would be NO social rented homes. That’s the reality hidden in this Poverty Commission Update.

 

You, as a Scrutiny Committee, need to challenge that, and demand that Brent Council does better.

 

You can recommend that in meeting its Poverty Commission commitments, it should invest in more social rent housing as part of the New Council Homes programme, including at its Cecil Avenue development.’

 

The Resources & Public Realm Scrutiny Committee meeting on 9 March was the last before the 5 May Brent Council elections, and the last with Cllr. Roxanne Mashari in the Chair before she stood down as a councillor. Chairing that committee must have been a frustrating role, trying to hold Cllr. Muhammed Butt’s Cabinet ‘publicly to account’.

 

I could see her frustration in emails she wrote, apologising to me for the continuing delay in getting a written response to my Deputation. It should have been provided within ten working days, and was initially expected from Cllr. Ellie Southwood, Lead Member for Housing, who had been the Cabinet member presenting the Poverty Commission Update report to the Scrutiny Committee. In her final email to me, on 5 May, Roxanne wrote: ‘I would finally like to thank you for your continued engagement with policy and practice at the council and for playing an active role in holding the council to account.

 

From the Scrutiny section of Brent Council’s website.

 

I have certainly tried to hold the Council to account over the plans for Cecil Avenue in its Wembley Housing Zone. My initial approaches to Cabinet members from August 2021 got no response. I tried using a Public Question at last November’s Full Council meeting to get a proper explanation over why 152 of the 250 homes on a Council housing development should be for private sale, and only 37 at affordable rent for people on the Council’s waiting list, but without success. 

 

I even tried a satirical approach, using some of the Council’s own images of the three key Cabinet members involved (Cllrs. Butt, Tatler and Southwood), to show graphically how their Cecil Avenue proposals made a mockery of their “New Council Homes” promises. Still no real engagement on the issue from councillors or Council Officers!

 

Parody of a Brent publicity photo for its “1,000 New Council Homes” programme.

 

Brent’s website says that ‘Scrutiny … seeks to involve the public,’ and in January I wrote to the Chairs and Vice Chairs of both Scrutiny Committees. I sent them a copy of a guest blog I’d written about the Cecil Avenue proposals, saying ‘It looks bad. It looks wrong’, and asking: ‘Why are Brent’s Scrutiny Committees not asking for explanations?’ 

 

The (then) Vice Chair of the Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee, Cllr. Suresh Kansagra, copied me into an email he’d sent, saying that he thought it should be an item on the agenda for their next meeting (9 February). The day before that meeting, a Scrutiny Officer at the Council wrote to me saying: ‘As the issue you have raised relates to housing, your request falls under the remit of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.’ 

 

I queried this, and three days later she wrote again, saying: ‘It is correct that this is within the R & PR Committee remit and I am sorry for my misinterpretation of your request as a housing matter.’ Unfortunately, the agenda for the next (9 March) meeting was already full (that was the chaotic “joint” meeting which spent two hours considering Baroness Casey’s report on the Euros final at Wembley Stadium).

 

I had to resort to including my Cecil Avenue points in a Deputation on the Poverty Commission Update report. As you will have seen at the start of this blog article, those points were not answered. Brent’s Cabinet and Senior Council Officers do not want their Wembley Housing Zone proposals to be scrutinised. That makes me all the more convinced that they do need to be scrutinised, and soon!

 

Notice of an intended decision, posted on Brent Council’s website.

 

Last month I wrote a guest blog about a “hush hush” decision over the terms of a contract for the Wembley Housing Zone project. The actual decision was due to be made on 4 May (the day before a new Council was elected), but this doesn’t appear to have been confirmed yet (as of 12 May).

 

What has appeared, on the gov.uk “contracts finder” website on 30 April is an invitation to contractors to apply to be Brent’s “Delivery Partner” for the Wembley Housing Zone development. They must do so by 31 May 2022, with the construction contract expected to begin on 28 March 2023, and be completed by 31 March 2026. The advertisement had first been put online earlier that day, but was quickly taken down and replaced. 

 

The only change made, as far as I could see, was that the original start date was shown as 1 April 2023. My guess is that the additional funding of £5.5m, which the GLA agreed for Brent Council’s Wembley Housing Zone housing scheme last year, is only available if work begins “on site” by 31 March 2023!

 

Main contract details from the official public “Contracts finder” website.

 

Proposed Development details from the “Contracts finder” website.

 

From the published details, it appears that there has been no change in the proposals for Cecil Avenue from when the Cabinet approved them in August 2021. The 39% “affordable” would be 98 homes, with only 37 at London Affordable Rent and 61 for shared ownership (or intermediate rent level, which would be unaffordable to most Brent residents in housing need). The remaining 61%, that’s 152 (with 20 3-4 bed) of the 250 homes Brent Council will be building here, would be for its “Delivery Partner” to sell privately, for profit. How can that be right?

 

Proper scrutiny of the proposals for Cecil Avenue is needed urgently. Can Cabinet members and Senior Officers explain in detail how their plans are justified? If not, they should be told by a Scrutiny Committee that they must do better. Why can’t all of the 3- and 4-bedroom family-sized homes be for Council tenants, as that is meant to be a high priority for Brent? Even if only 98 of the 250 can be affordable, surely they should all be for “genuinely affordable” rents, as recommended by the Brent Poverty Commission?

 

As Brent Council’s website clearly states, Scrutiny is there ‘to ensure that decisions are made in line with council policy and in the public interest.’ We deserve to see this work in practice!


Philip Grant.


Thames Water updates on Wealdstone Brook pollution

Thames Water have suppied Wembley Matters with the folloing updates on the polution of Wealdstone Brook


Wealdstone Brook Pollution Update

Date: 13 May 2022 Watercourse clean

·       Daily pump outs at key locations have been undertaken to minimise odour.

·       Rainfall on 11 May appears to have provided a flush of the surface water system

·       The clean-up team will be onsite across the weekend in expectation of warmer weather.

·       A programme for routine flushing frequency is being finalised with the contractor.

Investigations to find the source of the Pollution:

·       Following multiple CCTV and man sewer entries, several point sources of fatty/oil waste have been identified in the Forward Drive/Cullington Close area and we are undertaking the formal gathering of evidence to establish if these are linked to the current pollution to the Wealdstone Brook.

·       From next week we will be beginning investigations into a different catchment area (Greenhill/Harrow) that feeds the Becmead Road outfall to continue the investigation.

Next steps

·       Thames Water Operations to begin investigations in Harrow Greenhill catchment.

·       Identified sources of fat/oil waste to be addressed through Thames Water’s formal

investigation and enforcement processes.

·       Further flushing and cleaning of the brook is planned to minimise the odour.

Next update: Latest Tuesday 17 May

Date: 10 May 2022 Watercourse clean

·       A manual clean of the section from Becmead Avenue to Kenton Road was conducted across Friday 6 May – Sunday 8 May. The cleaning crew also extended the section past Kenton Road.

·       Periodic flushes of the brook by Thames Water tankers are being arranged to limit stagnation and reduce odour.

·       A further pump out of the brook by the Kenton Lane trash screens is being conducted on the afternoon of 10 May following an increase in odour reported.

Investigations to find the source of the Pollution:

·       Following tracing work last week, the investigation crew found evidence of two potential wastewater inputs suspected to be linked to this current pollution event within the proximity of the Forward Drive area of Wealdstone.

·       Additional Operational resources have been present onsite at this location 9 May and 10 May working to confirm if these sources are the cause.

·       One input is a misconnected commercial premises – details of this property have been passed to our commercial and trade enforcement teams to resolve as an urgent priority.

·       The second input found was evidence of a previous fat/foul discharge from an unmapped surface line directly into the culvert. The source of this discharge is yet to be established as it is originating from an unmapped line which slows the ability to trace the source.

Next steps

·       Thames Water Operations continuing to trace the unmapped line on 10 May for the source of the fat/foul waste discharge.

·       Further flushing and cleaning of the brook is planned to minimise the odour. Next update: Latest Friday 13 May