Soil testing near the Grenfell site
Soil testing at Edward Woods estate near the Grenfell Tower has found that, while there were isolated raised levels of some contaminants, their nature and isolated concentration is not consistent with an airborne plume from the Grenfell Tower and is unlikely to pose a potentially significant risk to health.
The testing was done by independent specialist consultants in June 2019 at 15 locations on the estate.
Read the full report on soil testing at Edward Woods estate (pdf 3MB).
Investigations of the soil and environmental checks following the fire have been carried out by the UK Government, with the Stage 2 assessment including sites located in three different boroughs. This assessment found isolated raised levels of some contaminants, but no detectable concentrations of contaminants in soils that could be linked only to the fire. Contaminants found in LBHF were at levels unlikely to pose a potentially significant risk.
The full Stage 2 report, reporting from the Stage 1 investigation and PHE advice are available online at Soil and environmental checks - GOV.UK
Questions about contaminated land
Is there a risk to health from land that is contaminated?
Many of the potentially contaminated sites do not pose any significant risk to human health or the environment because there is no link between the contamination and those potentially at risk from it.
For pollution to be a risk, there has to be a means by which people come into contact with the chemical by breathing, eating or by skin contact. If exposure does occur, a number of other factors are important including the amount to which you are exposed (the dose), the way you are exposed and the length of time you are exposed.
Therefore, people have to be exposed to the pollutant either in large enough quantities, or long enough periods of time to potentially cause harm.
Further information can be found on the Public Health England factsheet (pdf)
I am re-landscaping my garden - do I have to check for contamination before starting work?
If your property is built on previously industrial land and you are re-landscaping your garden there is a risk that construction workers and residents may come into contact with contaminated soil.
It is advisable to hire an environmental consultant to look into the risks posed from the soil before any works go ahead to ensure the health and safety of the construction workers and to ensure there is no risk from contamination following completion of works.
Depending on the extent of the re-landscaping works, planning permission may be required. If so and there is the potential for contamination to be present, the development will be regulated through planning conditions and conditions may be set to ensure any risks posed are dealt with.
Is it safe to grow vegetables in my garden?
Growing your own fruit and vegetables in London has many potential health benefits, however the pollution that exists in our city (from the air and the ground) can sometimes find its way into the fruit and vegetables we grow in our gardens.
To ensure that your homegrown fruit and veg are as healthy as possible make sure that you:
- thoroughly wash and peel your fruit and vegetables from the garden before eating them
- wash your hands thoroughly after working or playing in the garden and before handling food
- keep the soil covered with mulch if you are worried about airborne pollution contaminating your soil or crops
- grow your vegetables in pots or beds filled with shop bought compost if you are at all worried about the quality of the soil in your garden.
If you know that your property is located on land which has had a previous industrial use and the land has not been remediated, you may wish to grow home-grown produce in raised beds or pots which contain clean compost.
If you are at all concerned about growing home-grown produce in your garden email us at email@example.com
For more information about growing vegetables please visit Growing Edible Crops - Environmental Protection UK