Open Letter to Mayor Jules Pipe -please write to your councillors and leader of your council

Dear Mayor Pipe,
(CC: Diane Abbott MP; Cllr. Ian Rathbone; Cllr. Barry Buitekant; Cllr. Deniz Oguzkanli; Cllr. Michael Desmond; Cllr. Rick Muir; Cllr. Alex Russell) 

Basketball Training Courts on Leyton Marsh:

As you will be aware many residents of Hackney have concerns about what is happening at the construction site for the Olympics basketball training courts on Leyton Marsh in neighbouring Waltham Forest.

The site has been closed for the last two weeks but construction is due to resume again imminently after injunctions taken out against protestors.

We walk our dog on the marshes everyday and have very serious concerns about health and safety on site, including the following:
An unexploded bomb was found on the site on 14th March. Nearby residents of Hackney were not informed. We have real concerns that more unexploded bombs could be unearthed; it is a matter of public record that two further UXOs are known to exist in the Leyton Marshes vicinity.
We are not satisfied that the ODA have acknowledged the danger to our health and safety. Caroline was walking on the marshes around 10.30am that day and witnessed the workers evacuated without being requested to leave the area.We understand that two of the five samples taken of the soil prior to construction contained such high levels of lead that they classed as hazardous waste. Lead poisoning is extremely serious and can lead to cognitive impairment, particularly in children. Despite this, no assurances about the control of these hazardous substances has ever been given to Hackney residents, some of whom live less than 25m from the site.

As you will be aware Leyton Marsh was used as a landfill site for bomb rubble during the war and afterwards. The original planning permission granted by Waltham Forest Council only specified a 15cm skim of topsoil. Currently mounds of soil several metres high are piled to the south of the site and clearly contain significant amounts of rubble. As the majority of this rubble originates from the period 1940-1960 when asbestos was commonly used, this exposed spoil and the lack of measures in place to deal with it safely are adding to our concern and that of other residents of the area.

We want to propose something that Hackney could positively do. We think it would be very helpful if Hackney’s Environmental Protection officers could liaise with their Waltham Forest counterparts. Hopefully as a result of this they can make a joint inspection of the site to discern if any risks exist and if so how to eliminate them.

Please let us know if such a visit can be done.Yours sincerely,

Caroline & Michael,
Local residents.
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