Soil analysis to determine the cause of the East London Tube fire that has been burning for years
The underground fires at Launders Lane, Rainham have raged uninterruptedly for two decades, but action to finally contain them has so far been hampered by a quagmire of bureaucracy trying to gain access to the site.
Local residents are concerned about the reliability of air quality monitors, others say Havering City Council has “let people down miserably”.
Complex land tenure issues stem from a police raid on the site in 2011, which uncovered a trapdoor in a portable shack that led to a “fully operational cannabis factory” made up of buried shipping containers.
Havering Council leader Ray Morgon said he was working with partners to find the best way forward.
He added: “I’m pleased to announce that we are hiring a company who will be taking soil samples on site so we can understand what lies beneath the ground and continues to burn.”
“As we have already said, this is private property. As such we are currently working with the property owner to enable us to be on site to carry out this work.
“This will help us to continue looking for solutions.”
It was revealed by LDRS, that the current landowner DMC Services (Essex) Limited bought the land in 2017 for £440,000.
Cllr Morgon continued, “We continue to monitor and test air quality and particulates.
“So far the readings here are no different from much of London, but as the weather warms up we will have the right equipment to monitor to see if there are any changes.”
Retired officer Catherine Newton, who lives just over a mile from the scene of the fire, said she hoped Cllr Morgon could attend a public meeting on Thursday to hear residents’ concerns.
She said: “He may have to answer some tough questions, especially with at least one monitor going out regularly as levels go up. Although the fire brigade was not called, there were complaints about the fumes and smell from Launders Lane.”
She previously told The Standard: “I’m suffering from nosebleeds, a sore throat, cough, a heavy feeling in my chest and a dry mouth.
“My friend said she walked her black dog this week and when she got home he was covered in white ash.”
London Fire Brigade District Commander for Havering Paul McClenaghan said his teams had looked after more than 70 fires at the site since 2018.
He said: “The fires are of concern to local people and put firefighters at unnecessary risk.”
A public meeting between residents and council representatives will be held at Harris Academy on Thursday.
Residents can view the latest readings online at https://www.breathelondon.org/
To donate to the Launders Lane Community Fund, click here Here.
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/launders-lane-soil-underground-fire-rainham-b1081825.html Soil analysis to determine the cause of the East London Tube fire that has been burning for years