On the 24th June, 2015 the Conservative-led RBKC council quashed a petition of over 1,700 signatures demanding an immediate halt to the demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre on public health grounds and for an urgent, comprehensive, independent health review to be carried out.
Here is the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/petition-for-an-independent-health-review-of-the-earls-court-redevelopment
Despite lead petitioner Robina Rose’s plea to councillors to work together in the public interest, the full council meeting rejected the call for an independent health review with no abstentions. RBKC council has thus loftily ignored the valid concerns of the Earl’s Court Action Group, local residents, businesses, trade unionists and environmentalists as the public health risks of asbestos, noise and vibration, pollution and poor air quality now coming to light as the demolition of the iconic building proceeds.
They also ignored the peaceful protest outside Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall in support of the petition.
Speaking in the debate about the 235 tonnes of asbestos in the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Cllr. Robert Thompson (Labour) said:
“What is most disturbing in relation to the issue of asbestos is that Capco, this Council, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have declined to make public the asbestos report, even under Freedom of Information requests. This begs the questions - does this council have a copy of the report? Why is this council not making that report public?”
Noise and vibration
Cllr. Linda Wade (Liberal Democrat) pointed out that there were concerns over the impact of prolonged long-term impact on the health and wellbeing on residents, particularly babies and young children:
“The developer’s submission appear to be assessed on the impact of ‘10 days in any 15-day period or for a total of days less than or equal to 40 in any 6-month period’ and do not consider the accumulative impact of noise over the course of the 20-year project on the health and wellbeing of residents.”
Lack of trust in the Demolition and Waste Management Plans (DWMP) of the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre
Cllr. Mo Bakhtiar (Labour) speaking on behalf of Cllr. Emma Dent Coad who was indisposed said:
“The residents of Earl’s Court are right to distrust this process. We support the demand for a cessation of demolition works and an Independent Health Review to revisit the inadequate plans currently in place. If not we are condemning residents to 20 years of intolerable conditions that for some could have fatal consequences.”
The petition is addressed both to RBKC and LBHF councils as the Exhibition Centre straddles the two boroughs. Petitioners will now look to Hammersmith and Fulham Council to open these matters up to the meaningful public scrutiny denied by RBKC.
As, in September 2014, the DWMP were approved BEHIND CLOSED DOORS under delegated powers to planning officials, ECAAG is rightly worried as to whether the petitioners will be granted a fair hearing.