Fire prompts call for publication of report

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A Londonderry community group has called on the local Council to urgently publish a health impact study that examined whether the residential communities of Maydown, Strathfoyle and Culmore might be experiencing adverse health effects as a result of exposure to industrial activity.

Enagh Youth Forum called for the urgent publication of the ‘Industrial facilities: health impact study’ report, which was compiled by Ben Cave Associates Ltd., after last week’s fire at the former Brickkiln site on Electra Road.

A draft copy of the report, which has been seen by the Sentinel, shows that it is sympathetic to community narratives and accepts that when coal and grain dust, soot, and bad smells start infiltrating people’s homes and yards, concerns are real whether ‘objective science’ has proven serious health implications or not.

However, lawyers for Foyle Port believe the draft report to be “fundamentally flawed in a number of important material respects” and have written to Derry City and Strabane District Council challenging it.

But following last week’s inferno, Enagh Youth Forum stated: “Council must now publish the findings of the health impact study, and giving the possible health implications of the recent fire and the untold damage to the natural environment, we at Enagh Youth Forum are taking our own legal advice with a view to progressing this issue.

“As the fire at the Maydown site continues to burn, we must commend the work of all the fire fighters who have and continue to tackle the blaze and we await the outcome of the investigation.

“Now more than ever Council must publish the health impact assessment. People’s health matters and so does protecting our environment from pollution. Let us not forget that over 10,000 tonnes of rubbish burnt up there over recent days. Questions remain and we will be demanding answers. This must not ever happen again. The early warning signs were all there, 10,000 tonnes of rubbish should never have been allowed to remain on the site. Was adequate risk assessments carried out? Concerns were raised by a number of MLAs just weeks ago, given the rat infestation of the site.”