Sector - Health & Safety
Grenfell Tower environmental checks to go ahead
Environmental checks will soon take place in and around the Grenfell Tower area to give residents greater reassurance over current air conditions.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has partnered with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, NHS England, Public Health England and the Environment Agency to ensure the North Kensington community receives the health assurances and support it needs.
Furthermore, up to £50 million has been pledged by NHS England to undertake a five-year health monitoring programme. In addition to ongoing air quality monitoring on-site, the proposal includes:
- further environmental sampling on-site, including comprehensive soil analysis to unearth any signs of contamination;
- water analysis, which will take place if required; and
- a wider programme of health monitoring and treatment options to reassure those affected.
“Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy we have been working very closely with local health partners and the Grenfell community to ensure that they have access to best available public health evidence and advice,” said Dr Yvonne Doyle, Regional Director for London at Public Health England.
“It is not unusual to find areas of contamination in cities which is often associated with historic land use or heavy traffic. It is generally considered to be very low risk to health because people would need to be exposed to the soil over long periods of time. We will continue to speak to local people and community groups to ensure they have all of the information they need about health.”
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire the immediate risk to health was from potentially contaminated air. An independent air quality monitoring was subsequently commissioned by Public Health England, which has shown risk to public health to be consistently low.
Soil analysis will determine whether there are contaminants beyond those which would be expected in urban environments like London. Typically, contaminated land is considered to be very low risk to health, as any impact would have to be the result of exposure over a long period of time.
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