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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Josh Salisbury

Hackney Wick parents raise safety fears after 'very pungent' smell detected near school

An investigation has been launched into reports of a “very pungent” smell coming from a construction site near a school in Hackney Wick.

Locals raised concerns about a chemical odour at a site in Wallis Road, close to Mossbourne Riverside Primary School, leading officials to refer the matter for an Environmental Health investigation.

Work at the site, which was granted by the London Legacy Development Corporation, has also been paused. 

A Hackney Council spokesperson said a meeting was due to take place later on Monday to put in place any “remedial actions” required.

“The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) is the planning authority for this development work, so the site falls under their responsibility,” the spokesperson said. 

“However, after hearing reports from local residents about air quality in the area, we have arranged to meet with LLDC, the construction company, and Tower Hamlets today, and we are requesting that work stops while an investigation of the concerns is undertaken to identify what the issue is, and to put in place any remedial actions required. 

“We will also ask them to keep residents informed and updated on the situation."

Local resident Lisa Huxley-Blythe, of the campaign group Clean Air for Hackney Wick Kids, said parents were concerned about any potential effects from the fumes on children in the area.

She told the BBC: “It has got a lot of parents concerned.

"It's very pungent. We want to know what's being released and what the kids are breathing in.

"Is it safe for the kids to breathe it in? Should the work be carrying on while the kids are at school?”

An LLDC spokesperson said it took the concerns “very seriously” and that it was “working closely with the contractors and other public bodies to monitor the situation and to reassure members of the public”.

“Hackney Council has referred the matter to Environmental Health which is carrying out an investigation,” said the spokesperson. 

“A system to reduce odours from the site has been installed, gas monitoring is under way and piling work has stopped until the next steps are agreed with all parties. 

“The piling arisings are being tested and there have been no signs of hazardous material to date.”

It comes after children reported headaches and feeling sick from odours at a nearby site on Wallis Road in 2018.

That site was later confirmed to have historic contamination of hydrocarbons, including benzene and naphthalene, which are carcinogenic.

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