It has been reported that legal action is in prospect in respect of the Southall Waterside site, noted as problematic in terms of odours from remediation on this website previously (4 January 2019).
Local residents have complained of tarry or mothball-like odours making them feel unwell. The site covers an area of around 35 hectares and is intended to have 3,750 homes, making it one of the UK’s largest brownfield developments. It was formerly an industrial area and gasworks. Contaminants such as benzene, terpenes, metals and cyanide are known to be present in the soil. ENDS Report (8 July 2019) has stated that local residents intend to bring an action in public nuisance against the developer, Berkeley Homes, and possibly against Ealing Council and the Environment Agency as regulators of the site. Ealing has stated that the results of air quality monitoring indicate that the site is “unlikely to pose a direct toxicological risk to the long-term health of the nearby population.” However, there have been short-lived exceedances of guideline levels for benzene, naphthalene and p-cymene adjacent to the ‘soil hospital’ used for decontamination, an area set up to avoid transporting material off-site. Berkeley has said that the activities on the site are highly regulated by the Environment Agency and that any legal challenge would be vigorously opposed. The fact that the site is regulated by the Agency will almost certainly create legal complications for the claim and it will be interesting to see how it progresses.
Text reference: para. 22-04