Launders Lane - Leader's update 1 March 2023

Published: Wednesday, 1 March 2023

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, writes:

Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council

The Launders Lane working group met again last week to assess where we were on the air quality monitoring plus all the other issues affecting this site. 

It is important to be clear that this is a complex issue around private land – which is not owned by the Council.

The land has a long history of issues and has changed hands after a previous prosecution.

The ideal solution would be for the landowner to solve this and we are engaging with them about the site and their plans for it.

In the meantime we have been monitoring air quality for a number of months and more equipment will be installed in coming weeks.  

Some of this information is available to residents in real time on the Breathe London website.

But monitoring needs to be done over a period of time so we have a clear indication of what is happening and whether residents are being exposed to air pollution above UK legal limits – some of which relate to exposure over a full year. 

Early information suggests that in the absence of visible fires (the Fire Brigade have not been called to any fires in the 3 month period November 2022 to January 2023) air quality close to Arnolds Field is similar to the rest of Havering and London.

However, we need to see if this changes as the weather gets warmer.

Many residents saw the recent ITV reports that only gave a short snapshot in time and more evidence needs to be gathered.

We have been in touch with the University College London who provided the research of the findings used in this piece to understand why their preliminary results showed Air Quality to be worse around Arnolds Field than elsewhere. 

This isn’t to say that poor air quality doesn’t affect health and we will investigate possible links to health as soon as the required information is shared by the NHS.  

In addition, as part of the working group, we are also looking at solutions to the problem.

Some of the possible solutions to resolving this could be costly, which would be challenging for us as we have had to make year on year savings to our annual council budget and still have to deliver vital services to our residents.

We therefore need the GLA or the Government to support us as we can’t do this alone.

However, with all that being said, we want residents to know that this will not stop us trying to find a way of solving this.