Grenfell - cleaning and contamination

Melanie Wolfe spoke about Grenfell cleaning and contamination at the Full Council Meeting on 24 April 2019.

Request for a public assurance that no more cleaning or replacing of soil or trees or any indicators of contamination/ toxicity will take place until after all samples are taken.

Beyond the Council’s normal cleaning and maintenance programme, the Council has only carried out deep cleaning and soil replacement on housing estates where residents have requested this. There is no public health advice to undertake cleaning or soil replacement, we will only clean or change soil beyond standard maintenance at the request of residents to provide peace of mind and reassurance. 

If any Residents Association were to approach us to ask for deep cleaning/ soil replacement, we would discuss with them the wider context, and the testing work currently being designed and planned. If they confirmed that they still wanted this done, then we would do so with the aim of reducing anxieties and concerns.

When removing soil, will it be treated as contaminated and bagged appropriately?  Will it be tested?

The only public health advice relating to soil in the area is that people should wash their hands after contact with it. We do not therefore intend to use any measures beyond normal procedure when removing soil. We will, when removing soil, ensure that AECOM, who are designing the testing programme, are briefed where the soil has been taken from and have the opportunity to take samples from it.

Who approved cleaning of Treadgold House and replacement of soil, and why?

We had a request from Treadgold House RA for cleaning and soil replacement and have cleaned windows and balconies. We were planning to remove soil in response to that request. We are in discussion with the RA, checking that they definitely want this removed.

Request for a list of all buildings/ parts of buildings cleaned either by public or private contractors since 14 June 2017

On the Lancaster West estate, we have cleaned the windows on most blocks multiple times, and jet-washed the whole of the estate, again in consultation with residents. In addition to routine cleaning, at least once a year, all housing buildings managed by the Council receive a ‘deep clean’ in all communal lobbies, internal lobbies, lift cars, stairways, external entrances, and walkways. This could include some or all elements of the following:

  • intensive clean of all floor areas
  • washing of communal windows, inside and out, washing of internal walls
  • cleaning of high level areas
  • intensive clean of banisters and accumulations around banisters

The Kensington Leisure Centre uses a window cleaning company. They clean the external windows once every 3 months and have done so since the centre opened. The only other cleaning works that take place externally are when air handling or air conditioning units on the roof are serviced and cleaned every 3-4 months.

No non-housing buildings in the area which the Council is responsible for have been deep cleaned in this period.  Attached is a list of all such buildings in the North Kensington area. All have a regular cleaning regime which includes window cleaning, gutter clearing etc. 

Which trees have been felled in North Kensington?

We have felled five trees in north of the borough on housing management land since June 2017, a small crab-apple and a cherry (both diseased) at 275 Portobello Road, a dead London plane tree at Kensal House and at Lancaster West in the walkway gardens two false acacias one of which had blown over and another which was dead.

69 trees have been felled in the North Kensington area outside of housing management land since June 2017 for a variety of reasons (see attached list). In the vast majority of cases this was for health and safety reasons, ie the tree had died or had decayed and become unsafe. In a few cases removal was because the tree was causing subsidence or it was knocked over by a car.

Is the council are aware of any residents concerns regarding their water supply?

The Council hasn’t had anyone raise water supply issues with us. That area is served by Thames Water - there is no local supply (they don’t get their water from the local ground), and it is Thames Water’s responsibility to ensure that the water is wholesome.