asbestos

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (1)

In the past few months, journalists James Cracknell and Michelle Edwards of the Waltham Forest Echo have done sterling work in exposing the serious safety flaws that currently blight many of the 22 tower blocks in the borough, see here https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/fire-safety-flaws-at-borough-tower-blocks/ here https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/tower-residents-fire-safety-fears/ and here https://... »

LBWF and public-private partnerships: (1) NPS London Ltd.

As this blog has previously noted, LBWF is now involved in extending its public-private partnerships, and so it is timely to look at some previous examples of similar initiatives, in order to discover what lessons can be learnt. A subsequent post will return to the vexed history of North London Ltd., while what follows focuses on NPS London Ltd. (NPSL), jointly owned by LBWF and NPS Property Consu... »

LBWF CEO Martin Esom’s appointment to the Health and Safety Executive Board: a step far too far

In July of this year, LBWF CEO Martin Esom joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a part-time non-executive director – a post that entails approximately 30 days commitment per year for a remuneration of no less than £15,100 (that is £503 per day). The HSE obviously values Mr. Esom highly, with its press release citing, amongst other things, his background in environmental health, his succ... »

St. Mary’s Primary School, Walthamstow, and asbestos: the final verdict (2)

Lest there be any doubt about the matter, this excerpt from AEC Ltd, “Independent Report on the Potential Risk of Exposure to Asbestos during Refurbishment Works in 2011 at St Mary’s School Walthamstow” (NPSL, 2013), p.6 demonstrates that LBWF had overall responsibility for what went on at St. Mary’s, and also (according to AEC) specific culpability for the events that led to the likely expo... »

St. Mary’s Primary School, Walthamstow, and asbestos: the final verdict (1)

The Waltham Forest Guardian‘s Tom Barnes has just filed an online story reporting that, following a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE),  Balfour Beatty Regional Construction, NPS London Ltd., and Squibb Group Ltd. today have been fined in all over £1m. for breaking various safety regulations in connection with the removal of asbestos at St Mary’s Church of Eng... »

Selwyn Primary School, Highams Park: demolish in haste, repent at leisure?

A local resident writes as follows:   ‘Waltham Forest Council (hereafter LBWF) wants to demolish Selwyn Primary School in Highams Park and replace it with a modular building block of the same capacity. Executive head teacher Maureen Okoye appears to be spearheading the plans. Shortly after she took over running Selwyn there were allegations that she had a “dictatorial” style, and treat... »

Private Eye’s 2015 Rotten Borough’s Awards: LBWF triumphs again

Private Eye‘s annual Rotten Borough Awards are always a highpoint for local council watchers, and this year LBWF triumphs again, with no less than two citations, which read as follows: ‘COMBATING EXTREMISM: Until an undercover Channel 4 reporter discovered the truth, for two years Labour Waltham Forest council hired out a room for “ladies tea afternoons” to a group of burqa... »

LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom’s evidence at the Town Hall asbestos trial: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

The following speaks for itself. 18 September 2015 Dear Mr. Esom, We write to you about the letter dated 30 January 2014 that you submitted to the HSE and the courts prior to LBWF’s recent prosecution over Town Hall asbestos contamination. We remind you that this letter was produced in lieu of an interview under PACE; and that you explicitly recognised it might ‘be used in the event of any enforce... »

Town Hall asbestos: new revelations

Before, during, and after its recent court case over asbestos contamination in the Town Hall, LBWF gave the impression that, having been made aware of the problem in early 2012, it then spent a large sum of money making the building safe. Thus, to give one example, a LBWF briefing dated 16 July 2012 states: ‘From 24th February – 19th May, the contractor carried out the decontamination work r... »

Town Hall asbestos: a telling example of how LBWF neglected its statutory duties

I am currently collating further material on the Town Hall asbestos scandal, and much of it is very revealing. Here is a brief taste. As is by now widely known, LBWF first found out about asbestos in the Town Hall in 1984, though it was a subsequent survey of 2002 that filled in many of the details. In late 2011, LBWF decided to refurbish the Town Hall basement and reception areas, and in advance ... »

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