Launders Lane Update #1

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Following the Launders Lane public meeting, which took place at Harris Academy Rainham on Friday 1 September, it was clear the residents affected by this ongoing issue wanted more clarity and regular communication from the Council. 

Therefore, we have created this bulletin to inform concerned residents on the latest developments in relation to Launders Lane. 

This will include updates on:

  • Site contamination and soil sample testing
  • Meetings with the landowners, contractors and partners
  • London Fire Brigade (LFB) monthly reports
  • Air quality monitor reports

Please note, we WILL NOT use this bulletin to contact you about new fires as they happen. The LFB deal with fires and the relevant safety guidance.

You should continue to follow the LFB social media channels for immediate information if and when new fires happen.

In an emergency, you should call 999 and follow official guidance.

Key updates

Launders Lane aerial view

We know that the on-going issues at Launders Lane are distressing for residents and we are doing all we can to find a solution working with partners, MPs, councillors, the landowner, the Greater London Authority (GLA) and others.

All parties want to try and sort this out to help residents feel safe. We know from the recent public meeting how you all feel.

In fact the Council holds a Launders Lane steering group meeting which includes the Leader, Cabinet, senior officers, the local MP Jon Cruddas, ward councillors, LFB, the Environment Agency and now the GLA. So we thought it was important that you were kept updated from this meeting.

Soil sampling and air quality

Many residents will be aware that the soil testing has begun, with our consultants working with the landowner who provided a digger to do the work and has his own consultants on site during the testing.

Early results of this will be available in the next few weeks which will give a brief outline of what has been discovered. However, full results, which include lab testing will not be available until the end of October. Further visits will be made to the site across October and November to obtain groundwater samples and to monitor ground gas. 

It is clear from the monitoring that when we have a significant fire, air quality suffers. We are waiting for the analysis of the air from July and then August to see what particulates have been emitted.

We expect to see a change in air quality levels following the fires. It fluctuates with wind direction.

We are also still working with the NHS to try and get information to find out if there has been an impact on residents over the years. However, we have still not received this, but when we do, it will be looked at by a group of experts.

We know people are concerned and we are trying to get all the evidence so that we can draw conclusions of any connections with the fires.

Launders lane boundary

Planning application

As we have said before, the land is privately owned and we are working with the landowner to find a solution that works for residents. The landowner has been talking to the Council about their pre-application plans but as yet we have not received a planning application for the site.

The work taking place at the moment can of course help with this, including plans to remediate the site. It is up to the landowner to resolve this and they can do so without planning permission unless major works need to take place, such as the removal of soil - in which case, we will work with them to ensure this is a smooth process.

We hope this provides a useful update for you.  Information will be published on our website when available, and we look forward to updating you further at the next public meeting.


The LFB have also been using drones to see the levels of heat coming from the site. They have seen that there are some changes to the heat picture with different weather conditions, in particular when the weather was warmer.

In the most recent LFB check, most of Arnolds Field was seen to be at a similar temperature to other local areas, except for a few heat spots. However, the LFB's view is that it is difficult to accurately measure land temperature from a drone, but it allows us to get a picture of what is happening.

There has been reduced fire activity in September with some calls to the LFB regarding smoke, but none regarding fire.

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