London Assembly members have requested the HSE “urgently” investigate the Earls Court redevelopment over asbestos concerns

Earls Court

London Assembly members from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties have written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) asking it to “urgently” investigate alleged “serious public health” concerns at the redevelopment of Earls Court.

Labour’s Nicky Gavron, Liberal Democrat Stephen Knight and Darren Johnson from the Green Party have written to the HSE’s Concern and Advisory team on behalf of residents living around the Earls Court exhibition centre.

The letter expresses concerns over Earls Court developer Capital & Counties (Capco) handling of the removal of asbestos from the site, claiming that Royal Borough Kensington & Chelsea Council, Capco and the HSE have “neither published nor given access to the Asbestos Survey and Risk Register to local residents”.

The letter adds that in Capco’s Community Engagement report the developer says the building – Earls Court One – “does contain some asbestos”, but that Capco’s waste strategy predicts it will need to dispose of 235 tonnes of asbestos composite materials.

Further concerns are raised regarding claims around the change in plans to fully envelop the building, air quality, noise and vibration issues. The full letter is attached (see right).

The developer Capco and demolition contractor Keltbray denied the claims. The HSE has confirmed receipt of the letter but not commented further.

A spokesperson for Capco said: “The Earls Court site is being managed by our demolition contractor, Keltbray, in accordance with the highest safety standards and in line with the plans agreed by all the relevant public authorities. Capco and Earls Court Partnership Limited take health and safety matters extremely seriously.”

Managing director for Keltbray Demolition & Civil Engineering, Paul Deacy, said: “Keltbray strongly refutes any suggestion that the deconstruction of the‎ Earls Court Exhibition Centre poses a health risk to the public. All our works are carried out to high Health and Safety and Environmental standards, and in accordance with current legislation. Our demolition methodology remains as originally envisaged. We continue to keep all residents informed of our progress through regular resident meetings and newsletters to neighbours. We also have a dedicated helpline people can call if they have concerns.”

A council spokesperson for Royal Borough Kensington & Chelsea council said: “Issues concerning asbestos on the Earls Court site come under the jurisdiction of the HSE. The main legislative powers regarding asbestos are under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and more generally for the project the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

Regarding the other concerns raised in the letter, the council spokesperson said: “Planning conditions were placed on Earls Court for air quality including for a demolition and waste management plan,” adding “demolition work has been ongoing for nine months and the council has received no substantiated noise complaints”.