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Investigation launched over concerns of methane gas at Orchard Village estate, Rainham

PUBLISHED: 14:19 29 December 2016

Orchard Village, Rainham

Orchard Village, Rainham

Archant

An MP has raised "grave concerns" over the possible presence of methane gas in a housing estate.

Rainham and Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas contacted Public Health England after residents at Orchard Village, in Rainham, claimed some methane membranes, which prevent the build-up of harmful gases in buildings, were broken.

Families have been complaining of headaches, sore throats, eye infections, respiratory issues and a smell of rotten eggs on the estate built nearby a former landfill.

Email correspondence said Mr Cruddas “feels, with his constituents’ health possibly at risk, this is a measure that has to be considered as a priority”.

Public Health England notified the Environmental Health department at Havering Council, which is now checking records on how landfill gases were addressed during the Orchard Village development.

A spokeswoman for Clarion Housing Group, which runs the estate, said it takes the health and safety of its residents “extremely seriously” and the group has instructed a specialist contractor to carry out an independent survey.

The three-year-old estate, which has about 1,000 residents, has been struck by a host of problems over the quality of the building including recent surveys finding fire hazards in some of the homes.

Earlier this month, residents launched a legal challenge against the housing association, which they claim has repeatedly failed to provide effective repairs.

This comes as the social housing regulator Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) published a report which found Clarion’s predecessor, Circle Housing, breached the Home Standard and risked serious detriment to thousands of its tenants

HCA said it received complaints over repairs for heating and hot water, services provided to vulnerable tenants and “a very large number” of outstanding complaints – particularly from east London.

Neil McCall of Clarion called the poor quality of services unacceptable and he apologised “unreservedly” to the residents affected.

He said a programme is in place to transform the way services are delivered.

“I am confident that we have the right balance of determination, skills and experience at Clarion Housing Group to solve these problems,” he added.

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