MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Catching up on the situation with the Litvinenko house (where the victim of radiation poisoning, Alexander Litvinenko lived) – the father of a near neighbour of the Litvinenko house called me on Friday to say that Haringey Council have rung his daughter and are coming to meet with her in the afternoon – and he would like me to attend too.
So I arrive and just afterwards so does a Haringey Council officer and Labour councillor Nilgun Canver. There is a little kafuffle whilst they say that they don’t want me at the meeting. I say to the father that I am happy to go if they really are saying that the meeting falls if I attend but in the end they decide they won’t press their objection to me being there.
The family had prepared their list of concerns and went through them. There is a mix of issues here in my view, many of which are interlinked. These include: how safe is it for people in the surrounding area? How safe is it in the house? How safe is it if contents of the house are taken outside the house (a flag has already been stolen from the house)? Will the house be properly secured to stop people going in and taking items out (stealing them)? Why does the Council seem to be saying contradictory things about the safety of the site?
The answers to some of these are better (and more reassuring) than others, but it all adds up to a lot of worry and concern for many residents in the area. The contrast with the other sites that suffered from radioactive contamination is particularly galling for neighbours – they got cleaned up promptly (e.g. the sushi bar and the hotel) but the house here hasn’t been cleaned up yet.
The big stumbling block to actually getting things cleaned up is that a further survey of the site is required (to establish exactly what cleaning is required) and Haringey Council won’t pay for this “characterisation survey”. They want the house owner to pay for it, but in turns the Council and the lawyers for the owner have told me that the other side hasn’t been talking to them properly. The Council’s account of events given at this meeting doesn’t seem to tally with what the lawyers on the other side had told me previously.
The breakthrough at this meeting is that after persistent questioning from the father, Nilgun Canver relented and agreed that Haringey Council will now pay for this survey. They family then tried to pin down the Council to a time-frame for both the survey and then the follow up work, but without success. But they have promised that on Tuesday a firm will be contacted about doing the survey.