Gatekeeping the “safety” of Rattlechain lagoon

Since starting this website in 2013, and long before this when asking questions about this “hazardous waste site” and the company making the poisonous white phosphorus and other chemicals that went into it, I have been struck by the number of those belonging to the left leaning political class who have actively tried to silence and belittle my attempts to get to the truth.

Far from being “persecuted” and “blacklisted” by the likes of The Economic League and others, these all championing union supporting “comrades” have kept their personal interest in the company – particularly Albright and Wilson, very close to their chest. Rather than being class warriors interested in environmental justice, they have kept their mouths tightly shut. This equally applies to their deluded ex workforce, still loyal to a company whose founding families were pure capitalists who rubbed shoulders with the hunting classes themselves. It is amazing that when it does not fit a class war “bloody Tories” tick box as to how quiet these characters become on just about every issue. Not that I am politically affiliated to anyone, it’s just a direct observation.

It is also the case that this website and my research about rattlechain lagoon is never going to be highjacked by self serving political characters out for their own promotional agenda, something which unfortunately has happened before with community campaigning on pollution hotspots and environmental matters. 

I have previously blogged about how Albright and Wilson employed many local amateur Labour politicians, as well as some having very close personal family ties with the company; and the subsequent companies still do. This is no conspiracy theory, it is a fact.

Albright and Wilson/Rhodia, and their political friends controlled the type of information about rattlechain lagoon and their polluting factory for many years.

What is interesting however is the way in which political “friends” and allies of a certain left leaning persuasion attempt to solicit blacklisting of one person’s attempts to get to the truth when speaking out about these close political links with a polluting company – now increasingly through social media. If it were the other way around, and this company had close opposition party links, it would be a class war twitter storm for them. I refer again to my comment about the economic league above and the hypocrisy that goes with doing something similar to the actions of this fabled body, that in truth the class warriors were never through their lack of any importance or relevance (except in their own deluded minds), ever on the radar of.

It is extraordinary, though not surprising when such people exhibit such  overwhelming hypocrisy by gatekeeping. Take for example the one below that I chanced on by accident involving pictures which were shared onto a public group about rattlechain. Someone posted a link to this website, only for the smug author of the original post , (a local blogger of some note) to claim this.

and the reason is what exactly?

I have no idea whatsoever why the poster claimed that he did not “link to it for a reason”, and further baffled about the comment about the site keeping “courts busy for many hours.” Perhaps he would care to clarify if he means the site- as in rattlechain lagoon, or the web “site” , run by me?

Whatever the reason for posting this, if he is inferring the latter, then he is making a knowingly false claim in its entirety. The statements that I make and pages published have all been sourced by original documents, National Archives material, newspaper accounts of the time, witnesses, FOI/EIR requests to relevant bodies, which I include, and are not just anecdotes made by anonymous people or those with rose tinted recollections. I take this comment as an attack on me personally, and that of my work.

This “troubles” some people because it shows dedicated research in dark areas that many would like hidden- such as those amateur politicians who take a wage home from their employment, or a pension from their previous polluting employer. 

What I find more disturbing is when I attempted to answer something on the original post via facebook. Within five minutes of making the post, and attempting to give the link to this website, I had been blocked by the author, and after seeing that the post was still visible via someone else’s profile, saw that my post had also been deleted- so that no one else could see that which I had written. That’s some community minded champion blogger and advocate of freedom of information right there.  😆  😆 😆

What is more interesting is that one of the post likers on the first post was none other than Sandwell Labour Councillor Paul Sandars– like many, a once a liberal democrat defector.


In Sandwell, I am not liked by the local councillors. I take this as a badge of honour, because what we have in this authority is a dictatorship one party state with irrelevant scrutiny and no opposition. In saying this, I would again point out that I am not a member of, nor ever have been of any other political party, I just find the one in power in Sandwell, useless, clueless and provenly corrupt on many levels.

I give the example below to illustrate this point, from a subject access request that I recently put in to this inept local authority. This relates to me exposing their disgraceful Canada goose cull where my compliant to the Local Government Ombudsman about corrupt officers and contractors belonging to SMBC lying about what they had done WAS UPHELD. As with this website, I put in freedom of information requests to get to the truth- (remember a Labour Government introduced FOI and that was something good that they did do), and it was only via these that the information became public knowledge.

From the SAR, an email which SMBC have purposefully blanked out to disguise who sent it shows the little Hitler dictator author instructing others , probably officers, to not have any contact with myself only through him or her. He or she further then states that I should be treated as “vexatious”. No evidence of vexatious behaviour is provided with the email, because none existed to back up the statement. IT WAS A PURE ATTEMPT BY ONE INDIVIDUAL AT GATEKEEPING POLITICAL AND OFFICER CORRUPTION WITHIN SANDWELL COUNCIL.

I believe the author of this ,due to the abysmal mixing of “is” for “his” to be the moronic Darren Cooper deceased, former leader of SMBC who presided over the most corrupt period in the authorities history. Seen here is a direct example of how this gutless, fat yellow coward used public servants and tax payer’s money to do his bidding, and to cover up lies that he knew had been told by his corrupt parks officers, and also most laughably in the process, not even able get his diktat right. 😆 Such a great socialist, but one in true action.

This “Voldermortation” of an individual as I am coining the term, is a direct form of bullying. It is one that I have encountered before in my life, effectively “sending someone to Coventry”, not giving them any information or just blanking , “blocking” them or “no platforming” them. Then there is “guilt” by association, “I won’t be your fwend anymore if you associate with them.” It is both childish and intended to demean and to shut down any debate and freedom of speech- particularly on wrong doing, but this is the preserve of the infantile far left cry babies, and it is one that Cooper had to a fine art.

In a nutshell, it is the model of every single state where Communism has ever festered; to shut down any opposition or freedom of speech, so that a true “fascist” can prosper with the oligarchy. And may, God willing, it never come to this country. 

Whispered in private amongst themselves in an attempt to silence someone just asking valid questions- oh but where are the community championing socialist bloggers out there commenting on this?


Going back to the rattlechain facebook post, it is then more strange that the blogger then posted two links. The first one to the Rhodia website- a desperate multi billion , multinational’s  (headed by an ex French Government civil servant), attempt at a PR job after the creation of this website, as “officially” . The second, a link to a news story about local residents living next to the site who were not informed by the developers fearing concerns given the proven exposure to white phosphorus in the lake to birds as “unofficially”.

But one poster made the following astute comment about Rhodia’s desperate nonsense- and here is the response which I made to this, which was for reasons unknown, removed by Mr Blogger mate of Sandars, Sandars being the mate of at least three ex or current labour councillors in three different local authorities who worked or had close family links to Albright and Wilson and Rhodia. Nothing malicious, nothing libellous, nothing untruthful- so why was it removed to inadvertently at least, gatekeep for this multi million pound polluter company in the process?




When attempting to give a balance by sharing this website, I found that I had been blocked from doing so.

“That is an excellent attempt at PR only slightly damaged by the phrase “Please note that the Rattlechain Lagoon is a hazardous waste landfill site with an open body of water. For your own safety and that of others we urge you not to try to gain unauthorised access to the site at any time. The site is surrounded by a metal fence, monitored by CCTV and regularly inspected by a security contractor in order that we can ensure the site remains safe and secure. In an emergency, or if you see any suspicious behaviour, please contact 0121 541 3314 or the Police.”
Other than that it is a real asset to the community.”

I don’t think that I can better this comment about Rhodia’s attempts to silence local concern, except offer illustrations which demonstrate the true “safety” of this site to the surrounding public at large. Even a Sandwell council planning officer remember described the site where houses were built next to it as “a crap site for residential”– or perhaps I have made this up as well  🙄




Eight foot metal twin gates topped with spikes and a further 1 foot of razor wire


A company which “accepts no responsibility” warning of “DANGER”

A sign that clearly speaks for itself!


Gate secured with heavy duty metal chain and padlock

six foot metal palisade fencing, spikes at the top, surrounding three sides of the entire site- well over 400 meters. Eight foot wooden reinforced fencing against people’s back gardens, presumably to keep them in. 

1 foot coiled razor wire topping the palisade fencing with accompanying “DANGER” SIGN around the entire perimeter.


An old but still readable warning sign about “chemically treated water”


Several “hazardous landfill” warning signs erected around the perimeter, and on the inside of the site. (presumably for the ducks to read)



Dome hawk , full tilt and zoom pole mounted camera at the front gate, spanning the entire pool, and can also pick up anyone on the “Mintworth” Duport’s Tip hill and along John’s lane.



Extra cctv cameras with a thermal imaging camera pointing in three directions. An audible speaker attached to communicate with any potential trespassers.

Two more additional cctv cameras mounted on poles x2 on The North embankment, also with added thermal imaging and loud speakers


“Please note that the Rattlechain Lagoon is a hazardous waste landfill site with an open body of water. For your own safety and that of others we urge you not to try to gain unauthorised access to the site at any time. The site is surrounded by a metal fence, monitored by CCTV and regularly inspected by a security contractor in order that we can ensure the site remains safe and secure. In an emergency, or if you see any suspicious behaviour, please contact 0121 541 3314 or the Police.”






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DANGER! AW Bombs at large #3

The concluding part 3 of news articles relating to the discovery of Albright and Wilson’s toxic useless bottles, made for an anti tank war that never came to Britain.

“The filling comprised 125cc WP, 21cc Water and 110 cc Benzine.”

As well as the obvious hazard of “Self igniting” white phosphorus and its subsequent breakdown products when these bottles were broken, it is also worth considering that benzene itself is a very carcinogenic substance, which makes it all the more dangerous when anyone came into direct contact with them. The quantity of benzene in each bottle was around 100CC according to this MOD published document , and there were 24 bottles in each box. When considering that over a documented  7 million  of these were made, this relates to over 700,000,000cc of benzene or 700,000 litres or 153, 978.5 UK gallons.    By contrast a typical Olympic sized swimming pool holds 555,000 gallons of water.  The Home Guard of course didn’t care where they left them- thanks for that Captain Mainwaring.

An article from The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 23rd April 1968 , recalls how a bulldozer uncovered some AW grenades which ignited during road works in Scotland. The bomb disposal squad were called to blow them up, though the number uncovered is not specified.

The fact that they were found near to the roadside is perhaps not surprising given that these devices were supposed to be used and thrown from roadblocks or from pill boxes.  Street to street fighting was envisaged, but the German invasion never materialised. The dangerous grenades however were foolishly handled by “The Home Guard.”

Another piece from The Newcastle Journal of 26th May 1969 tells how the bomb disposal unit were once again called into action to deal with 24 grenades (a full box). This cache was found in the sand dunes on land owned by The Ford Motor Company.

The same title again reported another S.I.P treasure trove on  21st January 1970. It appears that in an earlier incident a young boy had been playing on waste ground in Farnborough, Hampshire and had been burned. Once more they were taken away and destroyed by bomb disposal, though interestingly not at the scene. Perhaps the sheer number involved made this too dangerous?

In the same year on August 19th, The Birmingham Daily Post reported on how a new hotel being built in Redditch had to be sealed off due to an incident where AW bombs had exploded, again when they were unearthed. Nine bottles were found, some of which were obviously cracked and unstable when igniting.

The bomb disposal spokesman interestingly knows that the ground where the p4 scattered would be unsafe. He states that the ground would be raked to make sure that the phosphorus burned, though stupidly that the remnants would be buried under the road bank. I have no idea why this would have been thought a good idea.

The idea of an “antidote” of copper sulphate and soap is quite quaint. In reality the thermal burns caused by white phosphorus , as well as any fumes would require hospitalisation and many months to extract all of the damage that it would cause, as well as monitoring for many years as to the effects it may also have on the body and in particular the teeth.


Another story from The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 April 1987, details how a builder uncovered some bottles in his garden which he thought were pop. The article is wrong in that it states the bottles were from World War 1. 

The bomb squad again blew them up, bizarrely on a beach area. How this would be “raked over” is quite unclear, and one has to believe that it wouldn’t be.

The same paper reported another find in Angus just 12 days later! The 14 AW bombs were once again taken to a beach and blown up.

A major dump of phosphorus grenades (some 500) were found in reading in 1989.

The Reading Evening Post of 18th December reported on how the grenades had been buried by The Home Guard 6 feet underground at an army barracks. They were disturbed by a builder, and would have put present soldiers lives at risk had they detonated. This would have produced a great deal of phosphorus pentoxide on detonation , though it does not state where they were destroyed in the 12 hour operation.

A short piece from The Newcastle Journal of 19th July 1994 recounts more “grenade peril” in County Durham.  This time the discovery was on farmland , again a danger to any animals and anything entering the food chain when the white phosphorus spontaneously combusted. 

The different approaches taken by the bomb disposal squads in these articles are perhaps a part of the problem in how these mass produced weapons relics were destroyed. I have looked at this HERE, though it is clear that of the over 7 million made, AW bombs are still out there waiting to be discovered, and are no less dangerous but probably more so today than they were when coming off the Albright and Wilson production line. 

It’s just a question of how many of them went into a clay pit in Tividale after the war under the cover of “a waste disposal site”. 



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Good riddance to Liberty Drawn Tubes

This is just a quick update, as I’m sure many local people will be aware by now, that this vandalised abandoned West Bromwich site is finally being bulldozed and raised to the ground.

About bloody time!

For months, I along with others it seems had been trying to get anyone , just one organisation ,to take some form of lead and stop dangerous materials from this ex factory site from entering the canal and beyond. 

Several fires including a serious one occurred where the fire service idiotically pumped the contaminated water back into the canal. 

In desperation , I had even contacted Persimmon Homes, who had been given planning permission from SMBC last year to build houses at this very site. But their response was limited to say the least!

It now appears that they have finally found out where West Bromwich and Phoenix Street are as the pictures below show.


Persimmon it seems have now erected a sign off Phoenix Street, which they appear to be giving the name “phoenix wharf”- how often these dubious house builders come up with such pretentious shite. I think it very unlikely that they will care about the state of the canal which they helped through their negligence to pollute, but will no doubt attempt to con people through their literature into believing they are buying a plush “canal side setting home”.  I think I might have to hand out some flyers to prospective buyers when the show home sales sweet opens.  😈

A bit bloody late!

We will also no doubt then once these houses are built have the prospect of Severn Trent Water “misconnections” going into the drink to further pollute the waterway. Till then , enjoy the dust.

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Screwing The Gower and local residents

When I last reported on the curious goings on at this former Albright and Wilson hazardous waste dump that was being unearthed, it appeared that a great deal of work had been taking place, BEFORE any planning permission had been obtained.

Sandwell council, according to planning officer Allison Bishop stated

“I am informed that the drilling rig will be on site next week for approximately 2 weeks to take samples.  A clean cover of top soil will then be put back.”

 I was satisfied following a walk over the site that these works do not constitute commencement of restoration works but are merely to inform the planning application.  I am informed that the planning application will be submitted early next year following analysis of the test results and full design being prepared.”

This of course does not prevent exposure to residents in George Wood Avenue who no doubt have concern about this “restoration work” and what it will involve- AFTER they had been sold a pup by Morris Homes. SMBC of course are interested along with the faceless “Black Country LEP”- a poor man’s latter day Black country Development Corporation of building even more around this vile toxic Albright and Wilson chemical “radioactive” dump.

What’s behind the screening covers?

The equipment stated in the email did arrive as billed, with the company “GEOTRON UK” visible on site.

The rig arrives

The drilling rig, you could be forgiven for thinking looks like something that Larry Hagman might have stood next to back in the 80’s.

It appears that this is given the title “COMACCHIO GEO 205” . Here are the technical specifications below.


It can be seen from these pictures that there appears to be some form of pump in operation and liquid materials.

We are talking inches away from people’s homes


The other noticeable new feature were wooden boxes which uncannily look like the old AW bomb crates- complete with rope handles!

Obviously someone has a fairly sick sense of humour here, though instead of phosphorus grenades, the drilled samples of whatever material they have unearthed appear to be being stashed in jam jars.

But here is the curious thing, from the “Gower Tip” labels on these boxes, why were there two , both marked “box 1” ? 

Are we getting a dummy box 1 which will contain the real samples, replaced by a fictitious box one with made up results, or is this some form of weird urine sample test where the b results are stored in case of a positive drug test a sample?

Whatever these environmental consultants and their sub contractors were doing at this site, to supposedly inform a planning application, one can see that much material has already been scraped back away from the residential properties in George Wood Avenue.


We will see what the site owners come up with before this application arises, but before then, I will certainly be asking some more questions of SMBC about what they know. 

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Albright’s toxic archives #19 White phosphorus fire at Rattlechain

A housing estate at Temple Way had been built on the doorstep of Albright and Wilson’s John’s Lane “Rattlechain Tip” , yet very few people who lived there knew about their toxic neighbour, or what was being dumped there under water. On 8th October 1989 however, a delivery of white phosphorus barrels that were often reportedly “sunk with rifle fire” thrust attention onto the danger on their doorstep.

I have previously covered how The Express and Star neutralised this story, partly due to A&W’s friends at West Midlands Fire Service. But one question that I would ask is, if this was just a routine fire, why did the police helicopter hover over it for some time in a attempt to spot what was occurring from above?

Historic reports of fires had been reported years before the newer houses were built, and another on how a lorry load en route to the site had also started to “strike a light”. But this one revealed the specific risks of the chemical that was being deposited there to a new audience, and it also began to scupper the housing plans being put forward and promoted by the joke that was The Black Country Development Corporation on the former Tividale sewage works.

The Sandwell Evening Mail article that I have recently found from 9th October 1989 gives a little more insight than the other newspaper did. “FAMILIES IN FUMES ALERT” 

It is revealed that it was the residents themselves who had reported the fire, and not any staff or the contractor from Albright and Wilson. The fire chief in charge claimed that

“phosphorus deposits had rose to the surface and spontaneously combusted”

It then goes on to state that the “chemical was bulldozed into a lagoon in the centre of the tip. Phosphorus is quite safe when it is underwater ” he said. “

This is truly quite frightening that someone in such a senior position at West Midlands Fire service was unaware of the whole tipping operation dynamic at this site. The lagoon of course WAS the whole “tip”, and there should have been no spillages anywhere else on the site- as the licence SL31 supposedly stated.

Of course this also reveals what an idiotic statement about “safety” concerning dumping this chemical under water is. It is not “safe” to any wildfowl ingesting the contaminated silt – as the long battle to prove Albright and Wilson and Rhodia’s systemic poisoning of birds ingesting white phosphorus proved.

This is the same West Midlands fire service who were also apparently “in the dark” about the other Albright and Wilson tip at The Gower, until a similar fire there required their attendance just a year later.

The fact that such little regard was given to white phosphorus , a banned rat poison being dumped in the open air , and shovelled under water was compounded by the inadequacy of a regulator who when it did come to the surface and started to smoke advised them to do exactly the same thing and “rake the sediment”, thus exposing the hapless wildfowl to further direct danger.

The Albright and Wilson so called “experts” later went on to explain that the tanker driver, or so their story claims, emptied one of the barrels when it would not sink onto the beach area. It later then caught fire when exposed to air, giving off phosphorus pentoxide and breaking down to phosphoric acid in contact with moisture. Though they may have played this down, the presence of this fire would not have required any helicopter under any normal “routine” circumstances would it?

I just wonder if these individuals when looking down from above thought to ask any questions of “the experts” as to why the pool was glowing in the dark?

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DANGER! AW bombs at large #2

This second of three posts continues the story of Albright and Wilson’s toxic war story of the useless “Aw bombs”- commissioned for an anti tank war that never came to Britain where the Home Guard were issued them in wooden crates of 24.

From a training manual issued to the Home Guard

They were primarily used for training and demonstrations, but after the war many were buried and abandoned, only revealed during building developments where they posed further hazards to those who uncovered them. Here are some more of these finds as reported in press articles of the time.

An article from The Birmingham Daily Post of 8th April 1959 reports on a finding  on a building site in Hertfordshire. The bottle, like the one pictured above, was obviously faulty or had been broken during disturbance. No matter the length of time unopened, the white phosphorus in the glass container still provided a serious risk when exposed to air.


More “queer shaped bottles” were discovered reported on 6th December 1962 again in The Birmingham Daily Post, but this time in Warwick. Again they ignited causing injury to those who had found them. Again they were callously left buried by the Home Guard.

A further discovery occurred and was reported near to a Tamworth church in the same title on 7th February 1966 during the building of a new school.

Nine bombs were destroyed by the bomb disposal unit, a task which would become a common reaction to such finds going forward.

The story from one of the former Home Guard about “getting rid” of the dangerous weapons is perhaps typical of this not so “greatest generation” .  Just like Albright and Wilson who manufactured them, they left behind a legacy of danger for the future.


An empty box where 24 AW bombs would have been stored.

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The Gower Tip- What’s to hide?

I have previously reported about the current dubious activities taking place at this former Albright and Wilson Tip adjacent to the Birmingham canal, a new housing estate, and a sports field which is at the rear of the Shenstone Lodge School.

It is clear that the chemicals dumped at this site still pose a hazardous risk , though laughably the Environment Agency recently responded to an FOI request about the activities taking place-(notus.GOV.). NB THEY ORIGINALLY THOUGHT THIS SHITHOLE WAS IN WALES. 😆 In their wisdom, this site licence numbered SL32 – a laughable joke in itself – was overseen by their predecessor, The Walsall Council Hazardous Waste Unit and surrendered in 1994– just 4 years after West Midlands Fire service had stumbled on a fire, claiming that they did not know it was a hazardous waste dump! The EA came into being in 1996, and so all their records come from the negligent and useless WCHWU.

Not only was this Walsall council quangoessence useless, it also had at least two individuals who decided to jump ship and join a reckless persistent environmental polluter – Leigh Environmental. I will go more into this company in a future post, but how such people can jump ship into such private sector jobs is a disgrace. It is also a laughable situation when these people are aware of all the loopholes, and one wonders to what extent they were left there for such a payday?

I have raised concerns about the dangerous chemicals buried at this site with Sandwell council (contaminated land officer Garreth Davies) and planning officer Allison Bishop), whose job it is to monitor such sites- in theory to protect the environment and public health. From their responses to date, it is difficult to see how they are complying with any of  it.

The immediate adjacency of these operations should alarm local residents.

One video that I have taken shows how those working at this site have taken around 5 metres back from the fence from adjacent houses in George Wood Avenue- protected by a flimsy screen. Click the link on our facebook page below.  I would remind everyone that under licence, Albright and Wilson were allowed to deposit 5 tonnes of asbestos contaminated waste per year!

What's to hide at The Gower Tip?

The Gower Tip update. SMBC planning appear to be allowing pre-works unsanctioned by a planning application that it was claimed would be needed to address risk to environment/controlled waters and nearby residents. When they do apply for permission, what is the actual use, other than to replace the excavated contaminated material with clean cover, so that they will find no contamination? Video 1/2 2/2 Note the reaction in the second video. Why is it that when I have turned up in the street, which I am lawfully allowed to and not having had any contact in any way with these individuals, the contractors immediately stop work and try to hide their faces- surely they wouldn't have anything to hide about what they are doing – would they?

Posted by Rattlechain lagoon- What lies beneath on Wednesday, 26 June 2019

 I had spoken to both of these officers, who appear to have had a meeting with Rhodia/ERM a few months ago, yet it appears that they have a blank canvas to start from without any regulation. The letter relating to this meeting involving the Environmental impact assessment records the following.

So where is the pre assessment BEFORE they even turn up on site, and have SMBC judged this and under what expertise?

Where is any of this assessment in the pre works?



“Good morning Mr Carroll, Firstly my apologies for not responding yesterday.  I did however speak with their consultants, Environmental Resources Management Ltd yesterday morning regarding the works that are being carried out. They have confirmed that they are doing some earthworks to the mound to widen the access track to the extreme eastern boundary of the site.  They are also doing geo investigations with a drilling rig to inform the depth of oil drums and other contaminated in preparation for the submission of planning application early next year.

They have also removed vegetation and will be putting a clean cover of top soil on. They have also prepared an internal planning document which identifies risks. Namely contingency planning – excavate in slow way, any drum close to surface work will cease and locations recorded etc. On the basis of this I do not consider that these works require planning permission, however I have asked them to send their internal risk assessment document for clarify.  I also intend to visit the site this week with the Gareth Davies to check the activities being undertaken for myself. Following our visit I will update you again.

Kind regards Alison, Alison Bishop Development Planning Manager”

So this confirms what I had stated earlier. ERM are removing material known to be contaminated BEFORE a planning application, and then replacing it with “clean cover” BEFORE submitting any test evidence to SMBC, who will then “inform” a decision from these fraudulent set of tests. SMBC do not appear to care about the current removal of this material blowing in the wind, or the activities taking place.

“Good afternoon Mr Carroll,

 I have visited the site this morning and inspected the works that have been carried out. 

 The works on site have included scraping back the area to the rear of the new residential (Morris Homes) development to allow for a drilling rig to undertake investigations to inform them in readiness for the submission of the planning application.  The works I observed were with a digger clearing above ground debris.  This will be finished by the end of the week.  I am informed that the drilling rig will be on site next week for approximately 2 weeks to take samples.  A clean cover of top soil will then be put back.”

 I was satisfied following a walk over the site that these works do not constitute commencement of restoration works but are merely to inform the planning application.  I am informed that the planning application will be submitted early next year following analysis of the test results and full design being prepared.

 Kind regards Alison

 Alison Bishop

Development Planning Manager”

So I can only stress to any local residents reading this, you face increased risk of exposure from these pre works that SMBC do not believe constitute planning permission, but rest assured that next year, ERM for Rhodia will have constructed a report based on what they find AFTER these pre-works have taken place, and not BEFORE. Of course they will find what they want to find, as who is going to offer any independent monitoring or confirmation of test results?

A final note on the activities on site at the moment is the bizarre behaviour of some of the workmen- they do not appear to be the fall guys Heyrman De Roeck on this occasion, the Dutch group who were working on the Rattlechain cover up works of 2013.

They appear to be a little camera shy, and for whatever reason immediately cease what they are doing and start communicating via mobile or radio when I have graced the forlorn area with my presence. At least they should know, that someone is watching them, and their employer like a hawk.[0]=68.ARD9i-kbzUuWmqkfo9d91PK_AqWB2S-RyP1g9OlV6cfk8poTNnGhDPu9fSoslurH6ahNl826jXwChn6uTPIK9mG8mj_BvJpcwQ5uPQsosOy9uNYfxiYo4m4wym3h2lnlWrbAvZQkCNB7erfz0ivw_gjZlXJtShiS7vVGPkEvsdLZ_XU-lNTROnvlKOE3So-5-i_niEmKoc94cp99ZTSqSSPmTaMG7tkZeEs-jrCCrCWJR7wpjYxx7OVGiMK_6r1mOTFvncKZahI85XLzNAb7DsbiSaeu3u0YeScxF__gaAeyE7plAF1pHibb3XvL9cK226Ssp2999kxCfFtxtO0CuZDRBkGfHiOTGCj2&__tn__=-R


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Very dodgy goings on at The Gower Tip

The sister dumping ground site to rattlechain lagoon –The Gower Tip is another of Albright and Wilson’s toxic legacies for the future. I have written extensively about this site and will provide those links within this post. This post is an update on developments which have come to a head over the course of the last week and follows the last blog I wrote about this site in October when it was apparent that Rhodia’s environmental consultants, ERM,  were pottering about on this site after having conducted a tree massacre earlier.

The site is immediately adjacent to the Birmingham Canal Old Mainline , and you would not be able to see much from this restricted view, except the token warning signs from “Rhodia Limited”- , the convenience name under which  Solvay operate for the Albright and Wilson mothballed shit holes that they attempt to distance themselves from their own Belgian brand.

There’s a site welfare cabin hiding in there.

It is also unfortunately now bordered by homes built by Morris Homes – specifically GEORGE WOOD AVENUE AND BHULLAR WAY.

Some basic info before reading on….

This site was another “contentious site” given a site licence numbered SL32  by the useless former West Midlands County Council in 1977  and more latterly EAWML 40910 by the Environment Agency. Prior to this, Alfred Matty the canal carrier took waste to the site by barge,  as they had at Rattlechain. The licence allowed Albright and Wilson to deposit the following.

Phosphorus pentasulphide 30tons/year

Phosphorus sesquisulphide 2 tons/year

Dross from limestone mixed with small quantities of calcium phosphate 10 tons/year

Sodium carbonate mixed with small quantities of sodium phosphate 5 tons/year

Building rubble and lagging contaminated with ASBESTOS 5 tons/year

Paper packaging contaminated with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate or lime or trace quantities of other materials of similar toxicity  15 tons/year

*Inert waste for use as cover.

From the SL32 licence

I uncovered more about this site when looking into the granting of the licence by the WMCC waste disposal committee.

“I Background

This site is a former clay marl hole which has been used as an industrial tip since 1938. The site has received large quantities of toxic and hazardous waste since this time. These are mostly comprised of various compounds of phosphorus together with some radio-active wastes, laboratory chemicals, solvents e.t.c. The site represents the major disposal outlet for the Company’s waste phosphorus pentasulphide and phosphorus susquisulphide.

These waste arisings are the main problem associated with this site since they are highly reactive especially with water.

The licence was surrendered on 22 April 1994 and cancelled with effect from that date. Sandwell council in an FOI request in regards to investigating contaminated sites stated; “The Gower Tip has been assigned an inspection priority category of 3, i.e. contaminants may be present but are unlikely to have an unacceptable impact on key targets. The site has yet to be inspected under the strategy and therefore no determination has been made in respect of its condition; it is therefore not possible to say at this stage when this site will be subject to a more
detailed investigation.”

I have recently uncovered a news article prior to the surrender of the SL32 licence, but it is important to remember that “surrender” does not mean that the site does not pose a risk- especially as this surrender long predated any built development around the borders.

This is from the Sandwell Evening Mail from 1990, and forms yet another of Albright and Wilson’s toxic archives. It appears that “a grass fire” had started at this site and that the fire brigade had had to force entry into the site to fight the area affected. Once there it is confirmed that they found a 45 gallon drum of phosphorus pentasulphide- part of the hazardous licenced waste allowed to be deposited there. We have of course come across the dubious “grass fire” before at Rattlechain, when Rhodia left some barrels out to dry that had been in the white phosphorus contaminated sediment as bird deterrents when roped together across the lake. It was certainly this that was the cause of the grass setting fire, and I have little doubt that the flammable chemicals on the Gower Tip were the cause of this one too.

What is more bizarre is the claim by the WMFS spokesman that they were unaware of the site. I have to say that I just do not believe this statement at all, but if true shows just how little WMFC actually knew about such sites at this time. Just months earlier they had fought another chemical initiated fire at Rattlechain caused by a tanker driver dumping a barrel of white phosphorus waste , and attempted to put out community concern with bullshit words that were straight out of the AW spin book. Indeed AW’s own fire service boasted about training with the professionals, which makes it even more implausible that the works management at the site had never told them about the Gower Tip, and its hazardous contents.

One also wonders how they had missed the required hazardous waste area notice board at the entrance to the site, that is of course if it had not gone missing , as it frequently breached licence conditions at rattlechain!

It is even more of concern as to the type of hazardous chemicals if the fire service had used water hoses.  In doing so they would have made the situation worse, and put both them and any passers by in immediate danger.

Phosphorus pentasulphide’s reaction with water gives off hydrogen sulphide gas, which is toxic in itself and smells like rotten eggs, as well as phosphoric acid which would cause people immediate eye and breathing problems.

P4S10 + 16 H2O → 4 H3PO4 + 10 H2S

As I had observed in October, Rhodia/Solvay’s environmental consultants ERM were pottering about at the site, and I speculated that this may have had something to do with the ludicrous garden city proposals that believe that it would be a good idea to build more houses next to this unremediated chemical dump.

This week I happened to notice a mechanical digger present at the site and actively being operated! It was quite apparent from my view at George Wood Avenue that this was moving earth and bricks from near the border of this Morris Homes site.

Disturbing contaminated land Gower Tip

site adjacent to people's homes. What were you told about the land near your houses? George Wood Avenue, Bhullah Way Oldbury

Posted by Rattlechain lagoon- What lies beneath on Friday, 21 June 2019

This operation saw a waiting dumper vehicle ready to receive these materials which was then driven to the middle of the site were it was tipped.

I then went up into the Gods at Bhullar Way for a more commanding view of the scene. It was apparent that a site welfare cabin was on site, in an area obscured from the canal. Next to this was some form of water bowser as well as skips waiting to receive something, and given the Veiola label on them, no doubt hazardous materials.

What was also apparent is that the dumper truck was dumping the waste into trenches, which must have been already dug to receive this waste. This is certainly no vegetation management exercise, so don’t come out with this bullshit explanation Dutton or anyone else reading this, I have the evidence! This , given what we have already discussed about the known materials on this site just inches away from people’s homes!

Another interesting observation was the apparent removal of The Rhodia danger notice board. As the site is not accessible to the public from Lower City Road- (it is now human shielded by a school and a playing field), one wonders if this will ever be put back, or just left there gathering toxic dust?

I don’t think that this was a tombola either!

The extent of shielding the public in their homes from the asbestos contaminated and chemicals in the soil is derisory, but it is of greater concern to me that people who live in these houses know very little about what they are actually living next to, just like those on the former sewage works site at Rattlechain.

Morris homes of course are not around any more, but this priceless boast when marketing these houses cannot be bettered in terms of freshly squeezed bullshit.


In light of these dangerous works taking place I made immediate enquires of the EA and Sandwell council. It is Sandwell council’s job under part 2a of the environmental protection Act 1990 to monitor such sites and uphold protection of the public from them. The response from them was delayed I have to say, and when it came from their contaminated land officer, stated that “it was a planning matter”. Well I’m afraid I don’t really buy that!

DC/19/62668 | Screening opinion for proposed remediation works at The Gower Tip. | Land Adjacent Former Sportsground (The Gower Tip) Lower City Road Tividale Oldbury

It appears that the bogus version of Solvay using ERM, put in this scoping opinion earlier this year in terms of remediation works- perhaps a bit bloody late 25 years after the licence had been surrendered and now houses built right next door!

 Sandwell council replied to this at the link below quoting the 2017 legislation that had not been in place when Rhodia carried out “remediation works” at Rattlechain lagoon in 2013. This work would no doubt have required a similar “opinion”.


The planning officer told me that she and the contaminated land officer had met with representatives from the company about this at an earlier date and told them that this would be required and planning permission for the works. (I smell an FOI coming on there) 😛

It is noted from this written response that planning permission is specifically referred to in terms of submitting literature regards human health and environmental health effects of moving around known hazardous materials buried in soil, and the toxic soil itself. People can be exposed to many pathways both air born and through potential liquid materials reaching their homes.

I sent the officer the pictures above and noted her concern at events. I do hope that SMBC, in a week with “clean air day” when they boast about cutting vehicle emissions by using electric vehicles, will actually do something of more use in preventing dangerous substances affecting people’s health by ludicrous and reckless unsanctioned operations going on at this site currently.

The timing of all this are of great concern, and should be to any local residents living in this vicinity. There are clear reasons why Solvay are doing this work at this time, all connected to SMBC’s ludicrous “Dudley Port Supplementary Planning Document” to do with creating housing. The map below from this document shows the proposed sites adjacent to the Gower Tip, which is unlabelled, but I have correctly doctored below.

Note- there is not a single mention of the Gower Tip and its hazardous constraints mentioned in this bullshit document.

Is the aim of the site owners and their environmental consultants to remove the contaminated material forming an immediate border with the houses and dumping it in the middle of the site to replace it with “clean cover” prior to approval for “remediation works”?  Is it then the case that laboratory tests will be carried out on this same newly laid material amazingly finding very little in the way of contamination meaning that they can all spin the line to local residents and the council that remediation can be delivered successfully and safely? They could even get the Public Health England and someone attached to SMBC who used to work for them to set up a “steering group” like they did at Rattlechain and come out with a bullshit human health risk assessment.

Who’s to know? Certainly not SMBC who have “yet to inspect the site”, and are relying on the honesty of this inherently dishonest company to give them the facts? But is it in the interests of SMBC themselves to want to find anything harmful in the soil around people’s homes, when they and WMCA Tonka the Mayor Andy Street and his entourage are so committed to “brownfield first”?

I can only urge local residents in the vicinity to contact their local councillors and environmental health at SMBC if they have concernsbecause they should have!

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“Crap sites for residential”

They really are desperate. I’m talking about housing allocations and the phoney “need for more houses” based on the constructed lies of the house building industry and their political bought friends of influence, by the politicisation of homelessness , abysmal immigration figures and the desire to drum up more council tax to disguise the major fraud and theft going on in town halls. Unfortunately it’s difficult to find any political party who support development on so called “green belt land”, but instead think it is a good idea to build new homes on shit “brownfield land” polluted and left for decades, and even more deluded that these sites can be “cleaned up” because some paid environmental consultant can write a pack of lies with the knowledge that none of the promoted claims will ever be challenged by any regulator.

“Green belt” land remains a place out of dwelling bounds for the privileged few, where all of those championing “regeneration” of  urban sites instead live, whilst towns continue to be overpopulated and increasingly more dangerous from the fallout of contaminated constructors playing LEGOLAND on sites of brown.

Land around Rattlechain lagoon has been misused for decades by tatters and foundry sand dumping Charlatans. I have gone into some of the issues of “misery” that was inflicted on local residents by the bizarre arrangement between a dodgy quango (The Black Country Development Corporation- BCDC) and a “land reclamation” company who changed their name that often, like a whore’s underwear, to leave a twisted legacy of planning applications and dubious “improvements” to the area. Some 30 years on, to the utter failure of the BCDC, most of this land remains barren and not “reclaimed” at all, with buried waste beneath the mounds of black foundry dross that was piled without purpose on top of it. Sandwell council in their wisdom even fenced off this “derelict land” to the cost of the taxpayer, to “protect” local residents, but where the f#ck was the site owner?

Glowing welcome!

Nature has taken over with greenery, and that is the way it should remain, though it appears with the ludicrous “garden city” promoted by a pigmy clone of the BCDC, as well as the unwanted and undemocratic Tory Tonka Mayor, that the misery may one day return to the former Duport’s tip land bank.

What is certain is that the profitable part of the slew of planning applications, starting in the early 1990’s, were really about developing the former Severn Trent Water Tividale sewage works- (now Callaghan and Wilson Drives). The sewage sludge itself was offloaded and layered into the Duport’s Tip area- it was not therefore ever removed off the original “reclamation” application site.

The process of this development is long and complex, and I am not going to go into it all in this post, but what is certain is that Rattlechain lagoon itself played a major part, and remains a major constraint to development around it.

The Unitary Development Plan- an SMBC document published at intervals of ten years earmarks land allocations for different uses. What is clear is that this former Severn Trent works off John’s Lane, coming to the end of its life in 1988, were at different times tabled for both industrial, then residential use. But it appears that there was much debate from within SMBC itself amongst planners as to what the future held with such sites as these.

The following discussion took place between Robert Lee and John Baylay of SMBC planning, with reference to a business development proposal by Darlinson Dyer for the sewage works site. The context of this is that a previous application by Mintworth for residential had been turned down, ref BCS2780 in July 1997, because of the adjacency to Rattlechain lagoon– then still actively in use. It is clear that there was some existing relationship between Darlinson Dyer and Mintworth, and that Severn Trent were also paying more than a passing interest in developments, even though they had offloaded this crap site to Mintworth in 1988.

In an email dated 29th April 2002, Robert Lee contacts Keith Bird (SMBC)  and Tony Rice (SMBC) complaining that he is being forced to report a departure from the adopted UDP to the cabinet advisory team (CAT). There is the mention of the name “STEVE”, and if this does not refer to the former head of legal services Steve Cork, I can think of only one councillor by this name who ever held a cabinet position around this time.

What is clear from this whinge, is that the planning officers appear to be being put under great pressure politically to identify residential sites, even if they are shit ones like this, but when these are turned back towards business sites, they have to justify these “departures”.

John Baylay, principal planning officer, and the man whose name appeared on virtually all of the planning applications decided in this area around this time replies to Lee in no uncertain terms, with the most astute observation of all in that

“It’s a crap site for residential”

He reveals that Development control and building consultancy opposed the reallocation of the site from business in the adopted UDP to residential “BECAUSE OF THE PROXIMITY OF THE SITE TO ALBRIGHT AND WILSON LAGOON WHICH IS A CHEMICAL WASTE TIP, BUT THEIR CONCERNS WERE IGNORED.”

The question which arises from this is what retarded thick fucking idiot in Sandwell council decided or overruled these professional officers advice in changing this site in the review of the UDP? Building homes next to one of the most contaminated sites in Europe that was still actively tipping a virtually unique hazardous waste stream. This cretin or cretins must have had some purely financial motive in doing so, in allowing a residential site next to this “potentially hazardous” neighbour “in both public safety and security terms”.

Baylay then outlines that SMBC are in the position of not being able to guarantee the safety of such a site in that they do not have any information from Rhodia who will not give up information into the public domain (don’t we know that), and that a risk assessment has not been carried out or agreed on by the EA or HSE.

Lee replies to this, again mentioning the mysterious “Steve” in that he will have to justify reasons for inconsistency. He then states that Steve would likely ask him about the “struggling housing figures” and that if other contaminated brownfield sites were investigated despite being lined up for housing, would this make all of them undeliverable?

The Darlinson Dyer proposals, in my view just a ruse to force local residents into preferring residential units rather than industrial ones, never materialised and eventually this “crap site” was turned into housing after the council’s refusal for the valid reasons stated by John Baylay above were overturned by a Bristol based idiot who knew nothing of the area. The case offered by SMBC at this planning inspectorate hearing , and the fact that Rhodia dropped their objections bizarrely at the last minute to avoid appearing and being cross examined about their dangerous white phosphorus containing site, was truly shocking and half hearted- costing the tax payer more in costs. Of course, Severn Stench who had offloaded this site did not pay a penny towards its remediation , or care anything about the unsuitability of the site for residential end use. WHERE DID THE POLLUTER PAY IN THIS INSTANCE ? AND WHAT A LEGACY WAS CREATED, AS ONE UNFORTUNATE RESIDENT CONNED OUT OF MONEY REPORTED.



Several years on and Sandwell council appear desperate to build on green spaces and particularly playing fields for their “struggling housing figures”. The latest strange deal which has been mooted for several years appears to involve them buying land infested with human excrement under the title of “Midlands Land Portfoilio”- an offshoot of Severn Trent’s disposable crap sites. This site is located in Friar Park, Wednesbury on the Walsall border, and next to a railway sidings at Bescot, that are themselves currently involved in a highly controversial HS2 sleeper factory proposal that SMBC councillors and Tom Watson claim to be against, (yet their officers have been dealing with Network Rail for years in bringing  it to fruition). It is difficult to imagine anyone wanting to buy a house in such a location. Yet SMBC are prepared to flush taxpayers money away by buying this valueless crap site from Severn Stench!

A warning from history- still there off Friar Park Road


Solid foundations

Severn Stench have an absolutely appalling record of environmental pollution- and currently their pollution of Smethwick hall park, as well as brook courses which feed it where birds have died after human excrement has entered the water, appears still unresolved.

Historic imagery overlay maps shows that very little has changed with the land uses in many decades, though houses in Friar Park themselves were also built on former sewage works. No doubt the layered crap was smeared into a playing field as a “gift” to the future by the crooks who wanted to facilitate built development there.

The areas are still definable from decades ago.

Documents submitted to the recent council’s cabinet meeting in a report outline the extent of the SMBC owned land and the adjoining Severn Stench land that they want to buy off this polluter.


“The Severn Trent site is known to contain sewage sludge up to seven metres deep with potential gas production and contamination with heavy metals. “

“It is considered unsuitable for foundations for construction and it is suggested that the sludge be moved and encapsulated with a capping layer into a bund as part of a redevelopment strategy. There are however potential future environmental liabilities associated with the acquisition. “

Wow what a bargain SMBC are getting from these private sector polluters  for this absolutely crap land!

Previously, politicians in Sandwell have denied that their motive in building new houses for the sake of it is to generate extra council tax in order to cover up their disastrous panache for blowing it on white elephant projects. But at 7.9 in this report, there is little hiding that this ludicrous deal is exactly motivated specifically for this purpose. That should cover the cost of more “special responsibility” bonuses for the cunning labour crooks at SMBC.

The remediation costs for this disaster waiting to happen has not even been calculated- and why would Severn Stench even have bothered to do this? No doubt the idiots at SMBC will declare that there is no environmental impact assessment needed either.


A map submitted with the report, (click link above), shows the parcels of SMBC land with the crap Severn Trent doughnut smack bang in the middle of it. It is this croissant of merde that you the taxpayer are going to pay this private company for the pleasure of owning. The blue line is the area of where the sleeper factory , which SMBC negotiated with Network rail to build and support, even though the local councillors claim to be against it. How can both of these projects possibly go together? No doubt the layered metres of shite in the stench area will be turned into “an acoustic bund”, otherwise known as a bank of shite to mask the new residents from the HS$ factory. My fear is that most of this crap will end up in the River Tame, just as a disastrous development at Hateley Heath delivered where fraudulent “green” technology claimed that this bitumen factory and associated spillages would be heat treated to remove it. It was a lie.

HS2 is of course an unwanted white elephant joke, but largely politically supported by the main parties. Meanwhile as Tory Tonka and his WMCA entourage continue to obsess about public transport by providing an antiquated rack on grooves so that a few lazy fat bastards do not have to walk a few extra hundred meters,  Birmingham and Wolverhampton Town centres resemble gridlocked building site no go areas.

The SMBC spinners, will also talk of keeping it local, whilst using outside national consultants and blow your shit investment. I am aware that they are also mooting the sale of Browns farm in West Bromwich FOR SPORTS PITCHES, to replace the many football pitches that they are flogging off elsewhere in the borough in bent investment deals and the ridiculous Commonwealth games that bankrupt Birmingham only wanted. No doubt they will go cap in hand to another quango that they have fleeced before in “Sport England” to achieve this- and this development is bizarrely inside Sandwell’s “greenbelt land”. That’s some “protection”- though no doubt any of this will get an environmental impact assessment either.

Farmer Giles 5 a side?

But why end there? Surely at 750 homes, SMBC are selling themselves short. Why fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds on bricks and mortar when materials are free to hand? I’m sure that this crap from Severn Trent’s offload could be recycled and made into “mud” huts, like the one built below from cow manure. Just think of how much money the Sandwell socialists could generate whilst “saving the environment”. I’m just joking of course, but with this Loony council, I reckon some lightbulbs may just have switched on….

Another satisfied customer

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Old maps of the BCN toxic trail

Some time ago I put in some freedom of information requests to the former British Waterways, now The Canal and Rivers Trust, and in some of these responses came upon a collection of historic deed maps that they held. These are a fascinating collection of local history and how the areas have changed over time, factories and contractors who worked alongside these waterways and how many of them are no longer in existence, such as “The Oldbury loop”. Much of this hand written information dates from the 19th Century and tracks some of the changes that occurred and when.

A more modern view of the toxic trail between the chemical arm and Rattlechain lagoon, via the Gower branch.

Specifically I obtained maps of the majority of the journey of the toxic trail between Albright and Wilson’s Chemical arm and Rattlechain- the end point of their waste tipping operations. In this post I have attempted to put these maps together for the first time to show this route. The only one that I am missing appears to be sheet 26 between The Gower Branch junction and Rattlechain, which can be viewed on a more modern map HERE. Click on each picture below to trace the journey and zoom in on the info recorded.

 rattlechain  missing sheet          


Top of Gower branchHoughton arm from ICI

From Bottom right to left, then top right to left

Entrance from Houghton chemical arm going left onto Birmingham Old mainline canal. sheet no 50

Continuation towards Oldbury under Seven Stars Road the entrance to the filled in Churchbridge branch and associated basins up to Highbridge at Furnace Street/ now in the Rounds Green Road area.Sheet no 49 

Sheet 48 shows the rest of the Oldbury loop, not taken by the Matty boats.

Continuation of old mainline canal, showing several pieces of land were subsequently bought by Accles and Pollocks. Also showing a part of the filled in Oldbury loop  and The Oldbury brickworks.Sheet 47

Continuation of canal through Brades Bridge area towards Gower Branch. Sheet 46

Gower basin and entrance to the Gower Branch. Also shows Brades Hall colliery, the boiler works and the Hange Furnaces and associated basins further on. Sheet 45

Gower branch/Monks Tip to the junction of mainline canal. Sheet ?

RATTLECHAIN Brickworks/lagoon areaSheet  25

Final destination!

Netherton Branch/Stour Valley brickworks area . Sheet 24

When one considers that British waterways and Alfred Matty’s used the lagoon for a dredging tip from the BCN network and all of the industries that are shown along this network, as well as the white phosphorus of Albright and Wilson that would have polluted this canal, one can perhaps appreciate that this truly was a toxic trail with a poison apple at the end of it.


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