21st May 2012
Dear [Chief Executive/Leader/Project Manager/Councillor/Member etc of]
[Olympic Delivery Authority]
[Lee Valley Regional Park Authority]
[Waltham Forest Council]
[Health and Safety Executive]
[Greater London Authority]
RE: CONTINUED ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS AT LEYTON MARSH
An open letter, from the Save Leyton Marsh campaign, to you as the named authority with responsibilities as mentioned.
This letter is also copied to the local and national press, community, health and animal welfare organisations near to Leyton Marsh.
SAVE LEYTON MARSH GROUP
SAVE LEYTON MARSH CAMPAIGN SAYS
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”
A dog who drank water on 18th May from a puddle at Leyton Marsh, next to the Olympic GTTV Basketball construction site, has fallen ill and a vet has diagnosed the animal as suffering from ‘chemical poisoning’. This appalling incident, the cause of which is not yet known, only adds to the fears of local people about Leyton Marsh, the now dreadfully damaged open access green space. Following the leasing of the land by the Lee Valley Regional Park to the Olympic Delivery Authority, and Waltham Forest Council’s highly unpopular and environmentally-nonsensical decision to permit a three-storey-high building to be constructed and then demolished on it, costly and unplanned special measures are now being sought to repair the damage and enable the land to be “reinstated” by 15th October.
Residents and Marsh users, through the Save Leyton Marsh campaign, have already complained about the following extremely alarming hazards and mismanagement episodes during the construction period:
On 14th March an unexploded World War 2 bomb found by workers during the excavation works was removed from the site, with no warnings made to people on the Marsh or local residents to stay clear. Workers remain on alert in case further unexploded ordnance is discovered.
On 18th April the building contractors were told to mask up and ‘hand-pick’ the chrysotile asbestos excavated on the site, so that the asbestos dust can blow away into the ‘ambient atmosphere’. There was and is no warning about this ongoing occurrence to people around the Marsh, who include babies in prams, joggers exercising vigorously, elderly people, local residents, dog-walkers and those in boats on the River Lea.
Contractors continue to drive lorries and plant onto the Marsh, via the unmade-up Sandy Lane that remains in use by pedestrians, dogs and horses. The safety management of the enforced sharing of the space is perilously lacking: there are no signs warning people of oncoming vehicles and the works to Sandy Lane itself involve the use of a mechanical digger whose bucket and claw swing out freely while families, joggers and ramblers have to look out for their own safety. This situation would not be tolerated on the public highway.
Waltham Forest Council says that the only people needing to be protected from these dangers are the future basketball player users of the finished buildings, and Council officers refuse to accept responsibility for the current health and safety of local people in the meantime.
The Save Leyton Marsh campaign says ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The contractors must be forced to cease work and the authorities responsible must negotiate with local residents and Marsh users an agreed protocol of environmental, health and safety protection and management.
Before anything worse happens to people or animals and before further damage is done to the Marsh, the Save Leyton Marsh campaign is challenging the following bodies to act together to protect local people, animals and wildlife, and the Marsh environment:
Olympic Delivery Authority, London 2012, their developers and contractors ARUP and NUSSLI
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Waltham Forest Council
Health and Safety Executive
Greater London Authority
WE ASK EACH AUTHORITY, COUNCIL, COMPANY, AGENCY:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING JOINTLY TO ADDRESS AND AVOID HAZARDS, PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE AND REINSTATE THE LAND TO ITS FORMER CHARACTER?
This open letter has been sent also to urgently inform organisations neighbouring Leyton Marsh, including the Riverside Nursery, the Lee Valley Riding Stables, the Lee Valley Ice Centre and the Springfield Rowing Club, local vets and health organisations. Hackney Borough Council, the RSPCA, the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, the Olympic Community Relations Police Team, local and national press will also receive copies.
(Disclaimer: Save Leyton Marsh in no way infers or implies that the chemical poisoning of the dog was caused by any actions of the authorities, companies or councils mentioned in this letter).