Who Are CASH?
Clean air for Southall and Hayes
We are a community group fighting for our right to breathe clean air in Southall and Hayes.
We believe the air in our streets, homes and schools is being poisoned by the redevelopment of the Old Gasworks, where the soil has been found to contain benzene, a carcinogen, and other harmful chemicals. Since the Berkeley Group began work on the site in Southall, we’ve had to live with a suffocating petrol-like odour and many people have reported breathing difficulties, chest pains, cancer and other symptoms consistent with chronic exposure to benzene.
CASH wants work on the Southall Waterside development to stop until the site is made safe for residents. We’re pursuing legal action for enforcement action to end the odour nuisance and calling for an investigation into the impact of this development on the health of the community.
- Stop the works at Southall Waterside
- Set up independent monitoring of air quality and soil
- Investigate health impact on the community
why are we campaigning?
The 88-acre site of the Old Gasworks was the target of developers for many years but planning permission was refused, partly because of concerns the land was too contaminated to build homes on. After Ealing Council turned down planning permission in 2009, the Berkeley Group appealed to London’s then mayor Boris Johnson who called in special powers and gave the green light for the development to go ahead.
In 2017 the developers began remediating or cleaning the soil of contaminants including benzene, cyanide and naphthalene in a large open-air “soil hospital”, which was considered to be safer than transporting toxic material through the streets. However, disturbance of the soil has coincided with a strong, petrol-like odour in streets and homes around Southall Waterside and a wide range of health symptoms. The only monitoring of air around the site has been carried out by consultants paid for by the developer. Berkeley says the levels of chemicals are safe but this does not chime with the experience of people in Southall who say their health has deteriorated since work began.
The World Health Organization says there is no safe limit of benzene.
Southall Waterside is the largest brownfield development in the UK and no model exists for developing a site with such a range of dangerous chemicals next to homes. The development will provide 4,000 homes, leisure and retail space alongside the Crossrail route into central London.
CASH understands that new homes are needed in the capital but the cost of this development to the local community is already far too high – odour and dust nuisance, ill-health and – extremely worryingly – shortened life expectancy.
We are particularly worried about children at four primary schools in close proximity to the site, with many parents reporting their children are getting sick.