Scope of Maydown health survey welcome

The recently demolished Coolkeeragh chimneys, which once dominated the Maydown and Culmore skyline.
The recently demolished Coolkeeragh chimneys, which once dominated the Maydown and Culmore skyline.

A community worker from Strathfoyle has welcomed the terms of reference of a proposed new study into the potential health impacts of heavy industry in the Lisahally, Maydown and Culmore areas.

Derry City Council is currently seeking applications from organisations willing to undertake the Health Impact Assessment (HIA).

According to the tender documents Derry City Council officers will work with Derry Healthy Cities to establish a steering group including representatives from the local community, business and statutory sector.

A ‘consultative forum’ will also be established to enable ‘robust community consultation.’

Paul Hughes of Enagh Youth Forum (EYF) said: “I would like to welcome this HIA as local people have been lobbying hard for this over the past number of months.

“I am very happy with the ‘terms of reference’ for this important piece of work as they are comprehensive and I am aware that local community groups and concerned residents were involved in agreeing these.”

Mr Hughes, who is standing as an independent in the forthcoming election to the new Derry and Strabane Council, has made environmental and waste management issues a central plank of his candidature.

He said: “With so much high industry, we must examine and look at closely at the impact this has on local residents who reside close by and live in these communities.

“There is a lot of concern locally in relation to health and illnesses within the local community and also the high levels of cancer that exist here.

“People want all of this explored in a comprehensive HIA and I am glad that Derry City Council has now progressed with this issue by putting the HIA out for tender.”

Mr Hughes said the study was long overdue.

The detailed study will include an appraisal of existing industrial activity in what is a heavily industrialised area.

But other industrial activities that have been granted planning permission will also be considered.

The successful bidder will be charged with developing a ‘community profile’ to understand the population affected, consulting extensively, and developing a paper that itemises the community’s concerns.

A literature review will also be undertaken to identify any evidence, which refutes or supports assumptions about potential health and well-being impacts.

Companies interested in bidding for the HIA contract have until March 28 to do so.