'Volcano spewing toxic fumes': Meeting hears plea to resolve ex-landfill fires

Diggers will be used today to help turn over piles of waste and assist fire crews with reaching the

One of the frequent blazes at Launders Lane in Rainham - Credit: Archant

An ex-landfill site plagued by repeated fires in Rainham has been branded a "volcano...that spews out toxic fumes on a daily basis".

On July 13, Havering Council’s meeting included a motion on behalf of the Conservative group about fires at Launders Lane.  

It comes after the London Fire Brigade (LFB) confirmed firefighters had attended more than 70 fires at the site since 2018 and Arnold’s Field neighbours aired their health concerns.

The motion called for a "public meeting to be held for local residents, councillors and other stakeholders; and for the establishment of a steering committee to receive quarterly updates on the site”.  

An amendment from Havering Residents' Association (HRA) said the council is aware of the situation, and “notes the ability of local ward councillors to address concerns by means of meetings with residents, councillors or such other stakeholders and to use the council’s scrutiny function as a mechanism for reviewing health and safety concerns of residents”.  

At the meeting, Cllr Sue Ospreay (Rainham and Wennington, Con) gave a speech where she raised “major concerns” on behalf of the Rainham residents.  

She said: “I am of course talking about the volcano at the top of Launders Lane that spews out toxic fumes on a daily basis at the moment."

She went on to describe the site's history, which includes the prosecution in 2011 of the then-site owner.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for drug and firearms offences following the discovery of subterranean drug bunkers below the site in Arnolds Fields.  

Most Read

Cllr Ospreay said the issue has been going on for more than 10 years, adding: “None of us want to have the death of people on our watch as councillors.

"Please, please help us.”  

Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Ray Morgon, noted the issue isn’t new but one the new administration has “inherited”.  

He said: “You can be absolutely sure we will do whatever we need to do to make sure we consult this problem one way or another.”

He confirmed a meeting with the council's chief executive, Andrew Blake-Herbert, has been arranged.  

Cllr Morgon acknowledged the severity of the issue but claimed a wide public meeting wouldn’t be the best resolution, and said he will not be introducing a steering committee as it would go against the new administration's “ethos of trying to slim down our committee system".

The amendment by HRA was carried forward by 25 votes to 21.