So – finally today I got to speak to the Litvinenko lawyer following our conversation last week.
From conversations today I know that close neighbours remain worried – not surprisingly given that Haringey Council, whilst taking down the plastic sheeting, has now put up an ‘Emergency Prohibition Order’ (under the Housing Act of 2004, Section 43).
I quote from the Order: ‘The Council is further satisfied that the hazard presents an imminent risk of serious harm to the health or safety of any of the occupiers of those or other premises’.
Moreover, on the second page of the Order it affirms that the hazard is ‘radiation’; that there is contamination from Polonium 210 and that in order for the Council to revoke this order requires ‘remediation works to reduce the radiation levels of all the surfaces in all parts of the premises to not more than 10 Bequerels per square centimetre’.
Now, Haringey Council have been assuring people on their website that “Haringey Council enforcement officers want to reassure the public that living close to the property in Osier Crescent is not a health hazard”, but this is contradicted by the Emergency Prohibition Order – which says there is “an imminent risk of serious harm to the health or safety of any of the occupiers of those or other premises.”
So – I have emailed the Leader of Haringey, George Meehan to make it quite clear that in my view it is the Council’s responsibility to make sure the house is safe – and get it cleaned up.
And it is downright irresponsible to tell residents it is safe at the same time as putting up the notice saying it isn’t. Make up your mind Haringey!
Anyway – back to the Litvinenko lawyer’s update. And as I understand the situation as of this posting – the directors of the company in control of the Litvinenko house have written to Haringey to ask on what basis an Emergency Prohibition Order was applied. At the same time they have formally appealed against the imposition of the order – but they may not appeal depending on them satisfying themselves that there is a proper basis for that Order. And – I was told – Haringey have not responded.
This set of lawyers are very angry that Haringey implies that they are not cooperating as they say they have been in contact with Haringey prior to last week.
All rather messy and unsatisfactory! But it boils down to this: Haringey Council says on its website that everything is safe, but they Emergency Prohibition Order says not. The lawyers involved say Haringey hasn’t responded to everything and think the Council is wrongly implying that they are playing ball.
So my message to Haringey Council is simple – stop messing around, stop saying conflicting things and get it sorted.