A number of local residents have come together to run a campaign protesting the Earl’s Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area redevelopment. They are concerned about the effect on their health and wellbeing of demolition and construction work on the site taking place over the next 20 years. Of particular concern is asbestos in Earls Court Exhibition Centre One building and that its removal (particularly from the roof and external walls) could represent a major threat to residents’ health.
Campaigners, who have organised themselves via the lobbying group 38 Degrees, have asked for an independent health review to be carried out on the existence of asbestos in the building and the dust and pollution caused by the demolition process. They have said: “It is particularly important to carry out a review now, as there are reports of plans for increased density on the Earls Court and West Kensington Opportunity area which will have a major impact and have not been assessed. In addition to asbestos removal risks they have asked that the assessment considers all risks to health and wellbeing from the site, which include; pollution, traffic congestion, noise and vibration and air quality.
“Local residents, business owners, workers, trade union branches and tenants associations must be consulted on who carries out the independent assessment and its terms of reference. The health review should be: completely open, transparent, independent and comprehensive with all documents made public. Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham Council to hold public hearings where local residents can present their own evidence about the health risks and decisions on the findings of the assessment take place in public.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly Caroline Pidgeon is backing the campaign. She has called for a halt to work on the Earls Court Exhibition Centre demolition ahead of a crunch council meeting.
“I’m pleased to support local campaigners including Councillor Linda Wade in calling for a halt until a health review has been carried out,” she said.
“Local residents are right to be concerned about asbestos in the building and the potential severe health effects caused by dust, pollution and noise.”
“Over 1,500 people have recently signed a petition calling for the health review and I think it is very concerning the Kensington and Chelsea council are so keen to proceed with the plans.”
The campaign was initiated by Guy Rubin, Green Party candidate for Chelsea and Fulham, David Akan, Green Party candidate for Hammersmith, and, Robina Rose, Green Party candidate for Kensington.