This page brings together key information and the latest news concerning the land at Arnolds Field, Launders Lane, Rainham.
Here you can learn about the background to the current issues, read the latest public statements and view key documents in relation to the joint work being carried out by the Council with partners and stakeholders.
We have taken advice on how to best present air quality data from the Arnolds Field Technical Group (the membership of which is listed below) and have developed a new approach for the November air quality report for Arnolds field. We have also reissued the August report as this was the month with the most fires in 2023.
Air quality reports
View all the air quality data from this area on our dashboard
You can keep up to date with air quality readings for your area on the
Breath London website.
Arnolds Field is privately owned land off Launders Lane, Rainham.
The site was formerly a gravel extraction site. Significant volumes of waste were subsequently deposited there without appropriate authorisation.
Due to the combustible nature of some types of waste, the site now catches fire, especially during hot weather.
Residents complain about the nuisance caused by smoke, dust and odour from the fires and are concerned about potential health impacts.
Havering Council has commissioned an investigation of potential health risks to inform future decisions about the site.
The groups looking at the health risk
The health risk assessment is informed by a technical group consisting of Public Health and Public Protection and the following organisations or individuals.
Communications (London Borough of Havering)
Producing the Launder’s Lane bulletin and providing advice on how to communicate data to the public.
Environment Agency (EA)
Offering advice on the impact of the Arnold’s field site on the Environment.
Within England, the
Environment Agency have a statutory responsibility for regulating major industry and waste, the treatment of contaminated land, water quality and resources, fisheries, inland river, estuary and harbour navigations, conservation and ecology.
They are also responsible for managing the risk of flooding from main rivers, reservoirs, estuaries and the sea.
Greater London Authority (GLA)
Mayor of London provides strategic oversight of the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and is concerned about the impact of Launders Lane on the Brigade's resources as well as firefighter safety.
The Mayor is also committed to improving air quality across the capital, and recognises the significant concern from residents about the impact of frequent fires on local air quality the Greater London Authority is committed to working with Havering Council to find a resolution to these long standing issues.
Imperial College London
Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London was commissioned by the Council to monitor PM2.5 and NO2 using Breathe London sensor nodes and providing advice about how to communicate data to the public. London Fire Brigade (LFB)
LFB provide monthly updates on the amount of LFB call outs to the site including both fire incidents and false alarms A Residents Group representative
Representative of Rainham Against Air Pollution (RAAP) offering advice on how to communicate data to residents. RAAP also independently sourced their own node located on Orchards Avenue which forms part of the ring of sensors now surrounding Arnolds Field.
Transport Research Laboratory (TRL)
TRL have been commissioned by the Council to measure pollutants more specific to landfill sites including PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). An independent academic from University College London (UCL)
They have previously undertaken air quality monitoring in Rainham in response to residents’ concerns made to a news media company.
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is responsible for protecting every member of every community from the impact of infectious diseases, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents and other health threats.
They provide intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage, to make the nation's health secure.
General information about the health risk assessment at Arnolds Field
Who is measuring and what is being measured?
Havering Council is working with the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London to monitor PM2.5 and NO2 using Breathe London sensor nodes.
Residents have independently sourced their own node, which forms part of the ring of sensors now surrounding Arnolds Field.
The Council is also working with TRL to measure
PCBs, PAHs, heavy metals ( Lead and Mercury) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). NO2 and how it affects health
NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) is a harmful, gaseous air pollutant primarily emitted from vehicles and industrial processes.
Inhalation of NO2 can irritate the respiratory system, leading to increased respiratory symptoms in the general population and putting people with pre-existing conditions like asthma and COPD at risk of severe crises.
Children, older residents and individuals with pre-existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable.
WHO (World health Organisation), the NAIE (National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory), and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have further information about NO2. PM2.5 how does it affects health
PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or smaller) consists of tiny particles (like dust or soot) that can penetrate deep into the lungs produced by road traffic, industrial activities, domestic wood burners and wild fires.
As such PM2.5 levels more likely to be influenced by fires at Arnolds Field than levels of NO2.
Short term exposure to high levels of PM2.5 increases respiratory symptoms and exacerbates pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular problems increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory crises.
Exposure over the long term increases the risk of developing respiratory and cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and dementia and reduces overall life expectancy.
WHO (World health Organisation), the NAIE (National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory), and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have further information about PM2.5. Air pollution and inequalities
harm caused by air pollution is not equally distributed.
Air quality is generally worse in urban areas and the poorer, more ethnically diverse communities that tend to live in these areas are hardest hit.
These communities tend to contribute less to air pollution than more affluent counterparts eg they are less likely to drive their own car and more likely to use public transport.
General information about PM2.5 in London
PM2.5 levels in London vary due to factors such as traffic, industrial activities, and weather conditions.
Fires can be a source of PM.
PM can spread over larger areas and can remain in the air longer than gaseous pollution like NO2.
General information about NO2 in London
London faces challenges with NO2 pollution, mainly from road traffic.
NO2 is generally more localised and dissipates faster than PM.
Air quality monitoring
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) sets limits for levels of air pollution in the UK that must be achieved now by law and targets to be achieved in the future.
The World Health Organization (WHO) publishes recommended limits that if achieved would minimise harm to health.
WHO limits are consistent with the most up-to-date evidence about the health effects of air pollution and are much lower than the UK limits.
Action to control air pollution
Initiatives such as low-emission zones and improvements to the public transport network aim to improve air quality in urban areas.
Individual residents can also help by leaving the car at home whenever possible; not having bonfires and minimising use of wood burners.
For more information about actions to control air pollution read a report by the
Chief Medical officer.
The Launders Lane bulletin is there to inform concerned residents on the latest developments in relation to Launders Lane.
This will include updates on:
site contamination and soil sample testing
meetings with the landowners, contractors and partners
London Fire Brigade (LFB) reports
air quality monitor reports
Please note, we will not use this bulletin to contact you about new fires as they happen.
The LFB deal with fires and the relevant safety guidance.
You should continue to follow the LFB social media channels for immediate information if and when new fires happen.
View the latest Launders Lane updates
Sign up to receive Launders Lane email updates
Statements and press releases
November 2023 public meeting presentations and soil report