On the streets of London’s Southall, there is an overpowering chemical smell in the air. A vast site that once included Southall Gasworks and a chemical factory is being developed for housing – and toxic soil has been disturbed. More than 50 residents here complain of illnesses such as nausea, dizziness, respiratory conditions, high blood pressure and throat and eye infections. Meanwhile, several residents diagnosed with cancer believe it is linked to the toxic chemicals in the soil. Janet Griffiths, 49, describes living in the area, where there are three primary schools, as “like you are in a petrol station with the engine running”. She says: “One night, I opened my front door to such a strong gas smell I actually thought someone was trying to gas me and I rang the police.” This, many residents claim, is Prime Minister Boris Johnson ’s toxic legacy. Back in 2010, when he was Mayor of London, Johnson used special powers to intervene to force the Southall Waterside development to go ahead. This was against the views of the local authority, Ealing Council, and residents who were deeply worried after a report found a cocktail of chemicals in the ground including benzene, naphthalene,… Read full this story
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