Objecting to The Black Country Plan

#STOP THE GARDEN CITY

 

 

The trouble with bad plans is that some idiots just keep regurgitating them every few years in the hope that no one will notice.  🙄 

Who has the time or patience to read all of this at their local library, if it is even open?

Let’s get straight to it, “The Black Country Plan” is SHIT! Why? Because it along with all the others that preceeded it and will succeed it are based on what I term “The political-construction industry complex”. This is similar to the military-industrial complex whereby the military of a country forms a symbiotic relationship with the defence industry that supplies it for mutual benefit. Policy is therefore developed to accomplish this mutual benefit. 

Indeed it is this “political-construction industry complex” that is the reason for perceived corruption between the political class and property developers, and terms such as “developer’s charter” being accurately used. Many politicians own multiple properties or are involved in the construction industry, housing associations or are private landlords. Their friends, relations and cronies are of course another matter, and that is before you get on to transport infrastructure and the likes of H$2. It is no surprise therefore to find party political donors are also in the construction and property development game, and cheap public authority land sales have been notoriously observed in this part of the world to said agents. 

The Government’s white paper on planning reform was another step on this crooked ladder.  In The Black Country, we should not be regarded as a “growth area” for housing developers to continue to prosper. Sandwell is swamped with housing and inhabited areas already.

Sandwell is the most densely populated black country borough with 36 people per hectare compared with the West Midlands and national average of just 4.

Statistical facts from 2011 census

There has been widespread condemnation about the manner in which this oppressive “plan” has been written and presented by Dudley Council, acting on behalf of the 4 local authorities, and that criticism is entirely justified, as it does not seek to gather the views of real local people. 

The site allocations in this document are the only matter that most are interested in, and not the dogmatic policy waffle which fills out this report. A simpler comment on the call for sites and site allocations should have been promoted, and this would have generated more responses. As it is, it is quite apparent that the majority of responses that will be received will be from green belt land bankers and their stooges, promoted by certain politicians who have already made themselves known with their “save the green belt” campaigns. Meanwhile, the urban areas are targeted by developers, and this green space is usurped as “brownfield” , yet it has the same potential for wildlife rehabilitation as any “greenbelt” land through the process of rewilding.

The principle thrust of my objection to this plan are the unsustainable housing allocations centred in the Lower Tividale area, (I have already mentioned those next to The Gower tip),  and in particular on an area of green space linked to Sheepwash Nature Reserve which is part of the wider canal corridor. Together, this adds up to 607 new homes in an area less than a mile square, on an already saturated housing estate built on former agricultural land and then disgustingly, demolition waste tips.

It is also of course right next to Rattlechain lagoon itself. 

SAH088 proposes that 322 homes could be built on land including the former Duport’s Tip

SAH098 proposes a further 32 homes could be built on a strip of land lying along the river corridor off MacDonald Close.

I attended the site allocations delivery plan inquiry in 2011, from which this plan follows on from the so called “black country core strategy”,  and what is clear from this is that the inspector and Sandwell council were grossly misled by those promoting this site and their agents in that this piece of land would be deliverable within the  period of the plan- i.e by 2021- NOW. WELL WE CAN SEE WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS THAT WAS CAN’T WE!  😛 

In that scheme, around 257 houses were provided, and now 322 are proposed in the same area of land, as well as an even greedier idea to take up a wedge along the river as well to cram in another 32. Also note the statement about engaging with other land owners- ie Rhodia Solvay.

I drew out Rhodia at the time following this enquiry ten years ago where it became clear that they were not intending to sell off the site to use as a convenient waste toilet for the over tipped foundry sand by the company that had tipped it there for their profit. They and their consultants did not believe it to be technically feasible, as the infamous Cremer and Warner report of 1991 also stated.

I have also previously outlined the so called “Dudley port Supplementary planning document” in 2017. Around 400 local residents and users of Sheepwash Nature Reserve signed a petition which was handed in to Sandwell Council at the time, but they stated that it would be more appropriate to be considered at the time when the allocations came up for review- which is of course now. I will therefore be resubmitting this petition with objections to the scheme. 

Thumbs down to “The Garden City”

“Masterplanning” is a trite overused local authority phrase which also spells out B-O-L-L-O-C-K-S. “Visions” and the plethora of adjectives to describe what life will be like in 10 years time are the other nonsense that is trotted out every ten years. It always reads the same, it never materialises therefore.

There is no way that the wastes on this site are compatible with filling in Rattlechain lagoon, and do realise that to remove such quantities of foundry sand off site will once again blacken homes, soil cars and windows and cause health issues of asthma. The “misery” of the ten year tipping operation that supposedly was to take two has been documented HERE.  We cannot and should not accept a return to this absolute fucking planning farce again. 

 

TIP ON YOUR HOMES. Gladstone Drive 1994. photo Robert Brook . This would go on for another 7 years!

OBJECT NOW. 

 

The collators of this plan have not made it easy for you to respond, quite deliberately.

A form is available (is it) from local libraries and council offices if you can find them open. Of course it is also online, though wading through the pages is very difficult to navigate unless you have several days on your hands.

Download the PDF comment form below for explanation.

bcp-comments-form-v2-1-writeable (2)

State that you OBJECT  to housing allocations SAH088 AND SAH098 as unsustainable and undeliverable. 

It would also be helpful if you complete another of these forms in SUPPORT of The Black Country Local Nature Recovery Opportunity Map (draft April 2021), which is right at the end of the oppressive document plan. We can therefore see here how the planners and local elected regard such schemes in their developer’s charter. You will note that part of this area is one covering the joke housing allocations , which puts it directly at odds with this. 

This consultation ends at 5pm on Monday 11th October 2021. 

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO OTHERS, AS WHEN YOU LOOK OUT OF YOUR WINDOW, YOU MAY NOT LIKE WHAT YOU FIND. 

 

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White phosphorus misadventures #8 Scouse fits

 

See the source image

 

A turn of the century phosphorus suicide was reported in the 13th January 1900 Liverpool Daily Post. 

A man had returned home to find his wife had been on the pop. Apparently it was a frequent occurrence, yet on this occasion, “blue flames” came out of her mouth. (Must have been an Everton fan).  😆

He made her sick using salt and cocoa, and found that a number of match heads had been “steeped in water”. Unfortunately, this would do little to effect the irreversible damage that had already been done.

These were obviously the highly dangerous lucifer matches which became banned for use due to them poisoning workers who made them. Post mortem observations saw effects on the liver and other organs consistent with P4 poisoning, and the jury returned a verdict of suicide.

 

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APOCALYPSE GOW!- The Gower Tip spin show – WHAT LOCAL RESIDENTS REALLY NEED TO KNOW

Zoiks, we have been here before…..  🙄

I had read in the phoenix entity “Rhodia limited” directors report document that they had intended to carry out remediation work on some of their sites in 2020, but had been foiled by “the pandemic”.

Solvay in the small print

With dodgy activities that had taken place on the Gower Tip in 2019, it was fairly evident to me that this was one of the sites that they were referring to.

A brief recap is in order here to explain “the next steps” at this site and how this relates to a bigger more insidious picture that this company and those at Sandwell Council are behind.

I had contacted SMBC on seeing significant ground works taking place on the site, and was told by Alsion Bishop of the planning department, (who I am informed has now left the authority) that

 “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.”

Obviously the planning application was delayed, but the explanation was crap. A large amount of material nearest to homes in George Wood Avenue- named after a brick manufacturer, had been scrapped back. Some 5 metres according to admissions from Rhodia themselves

They had started this in 2014 when I noted it on this blog , when sinking boreholes, and compare the picture above with that which I took then to see the further movement of soil away from the houses. Of course, this gives the impression that the buried materials on the site are further away from the houses and residents, BEFORE any soil tests are carried out in the planning application and published. They had therefore ample time to do this , and such a process where they can do this is absolutely bent- but so was the granting of planning permission to build these homes to start with next to such a hazardous waste dump!

IMGA0613

I had noticed that signs on the frontage to the Birmingham Canal had also been changed earlier in the year.

Except it’s “Solvay Solutions UK Limited ” really

SMBC were remiss in their monitoring of this site and the actual activities taking place on there, which as far as I am concerned put residents at risk when soils and dust were being carried around in the air and on the ground whatever Bishop or anyone else wants to think. 

But that is where the new planning application being proposed can be challenged, and where I for one will be objecting to it. 

I was sent the leaflet below by a local resident , and it appears that a website and newsletter were also set up , as they had been at Rattlechain when they knew that I was putting out the real truth and asking awkward questions about this Albright and Wilson hazardous waste dump. Let’s deconstruct this to show what their comms team are trying to do with the psychology of it.

“IMPROVEMENT WORKS”?

This is the same bullshit phrase that they used for the 2013 cover up works at Rattlechain , which were really about compliance with legislation for site closure- AND NOTHING ELSE. 

I would urge local residents to read the history of the Gower Tip site, which is far more definitive than these liars or their consultants would like to tell you. Of most importance is the timeline of key legislative actions at this site. Crucially Sandwell council via the EA confirmed in an FOI request that the site licence was surrendered in 1994- This was still under the Albright and Wilson era, and before the EA were set up in 1996- and therefore Sandwell council were fully involved here. 

Rhodia took over the site from A/W brand in 2001. Solvay took over from Rhodia in 2011. 

  • The first question for “Rhodia”/Solvay spinners to answer is why do they need to carry out “improvement works” at this time, when there is no longer any site licence at the site, and no conditions on the site? Presumably, the regulators at the time- the useless West Midlands Hazardous waste unit run by Walsall council considered the state of the site satisfactory when they left it? But of course this was BEFORE any houses had been built right next to the border. 

Why did Albright and Wilson not consider “improvements” were needed at the site when surrendering the licence? Why did Rhodia for the next 10 years not consider that “improvement works” were needed at this site? Why has it taken Solvay Solutions UK Limited, a further 10 years to consider that “improvement works ” are now needed?

Also please bear in mind that directors like Tom Dutton, have worked throughout this period for all of this time under the three different company names from the same site in Trinity Street, so WHY HAVE THEY CONSIDERED THAT “IMPROVEMENT WORKS” WERE ONLY NEEDED 27 YEARS after the licence was surrendered? 

IS IT, MAYBE SOMETHING THAT THEY FOUND OR WERE HIDING IN THE MONITORING RESULTS THAT THEY THINK THEY NEED TO “IMPROVE” TO PROTECT RESIDENTS FROM HARM? IF NOT, AND THE SITE IS AS SAFE AS HOUSES, DO THEY NEED TO CARRY ANY “IMPROVEMENT WORKS” OUT? 

  • They try to sell this as “attractive landscaping”. If it were the case, then why would they need planning permission just for that?
  • “The community information event” or public exhibition is another spin tactic which has been used for years in order to claim that there has been some community participation, When anyone asks any awkward questions they will not answer them, or pretend not to know. It is a way of obtaining community concerns, and then systematically attempting to rebut them in planning documents.

PLANNING APPLICATION.

  • No planning application would be needed for such works on an ordinary site, but this is no ordinary landfill site, and they of course do not elaborate as to what harmful chemicals are buried there or those capable of causing significant harm.
  • For “Environmental sustainability” of the site, read “saleable package opportunity”.
  • “Custodians”, “specialist”, “rigorous”– why are such grandiose terms used here, and why would “specialist contractors” be needed or “rigorous health and safety legislation” be needed if the site poses no risk to local residents in either its present state or that between which they intend for it to be?
  • “The minimal” impact on wildlife and local residents is a matter for debate in terms of the health risks posed during and after works.

FUTURE USE OF THE SITE

  • Note that “our” and “we” suddenly becomes “I” for inexplicable reasons. Who are you “I”?
  • This appears to be a direct quote which came lifted from one of the newsletters put out under the name of “site redevelopment manager” John “quicksilver” Moorhouse, (or The Mercury Man). You will note however as I have that this director left the company in December of 2020, so anything HE stated then is not exactly any longer relevant, unless someone else named in any position at the company states it now.

  • In the same June 2020 newsletter they claim that works would last “about 8 months”

 

STAYING IN TOUCH

  • “We welcome comments regarding the improvement programme and will answer any questions you may have” Hey folks let’s see if they do.  😉 

WHAT IS THE GOWER LANDFILL SITE? 

Well , it’s a hazardous waste site for starters FFS!  😛 

I have outlined the real history of the site, and the chemicals of concern in the PDF below, but do realise that in the original site licence application it was admitted that “some radioactive wastes” had been dumped at the Gower Tip.

GOWER TIP FACTUAL HISTORY

“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

On this note, neither The Environment Agency or Sandwell council were in possession of any of the facts as to what type and what quantities, or how if at all this had been remediated when asked about the matter in freedom of information requests. HAD THE WASTES BEEN REMEDIATED, IS IT STILL THERE? Remember how Albright and Wilson had been fined for enriching phosphorus during their disastrous “remediation” of their Portishead site IN 1989. DID ANY OF THIS GET DUMPED AT THE GOWER WHICH CLOSED IN 1994

It is also news to me that this site received any waste from British Industrial plastics (B.I.P), and this information was not contained in the original licence application as evidenced above. Are Solvay trying to pull a fast one here in any liabilities caused by another company? I would like to know the source of this claim and the validity of it, as it throws into doubt the type of chemicals present at the site, and potential impact for co disposal.

THE REAL (ESTATE) STORY

We know this landscaping tale is bullshit because we can see from the joke Dudley port Supplementary Planning Document that there are ambitions for land conversion to housing all around the Gower tip site- to create more houses for site allocations. I have marked the said Solvay site with a relevant poison symbol so you can clearly see what I am talking about. The problem is The Gower Tip – a hazardous waste tip is piggy in the middle between the two areas either side of it. 

Please note the statement “IMPROVED ACCESS TO THE TWO PORTIONS OF THE SITE IS KEY TO BRINGING FORWARD DEVELOPMENT”.

The recently published Black Country plan, (of more which I will be writing about soon), spells out these land parcels surrounding the Gower Tip site, and let’s therefore look at all of them. The policies map can be viewed below.

09d – Appendix D – BCP Policies map

You can see from this that parcels of land are numbered. Obviously you can see the areas around rattlechain lagoon and the Temple Way estate, but there are four more in close proximity to The Gower tip.

Gower Tip is shaded grey

 

SAHO76 forms a direct land border with this site, and is currently an industrial area.

The Black country plan states the following about this area.

“Does not meet accessibility thresholds in HOU2”

 

This states that some landowners on this site are looking to bring the site forward, anticipate that it could be ready between 2036-2038 with an area capable of supporting 64 homes. 

“HOU2” is a policy contained within the vast Black country plan which states thus.

What this basically means, is that these proposals would be unlikely to get planning permission as a result of this policy because the houses are too densely packed. We can therefore see in this context what “Rhodia’s” phoney Gower planning application is really about, and that is attempting to overcome this obstacle with them able to sell off this land eventually to the greedy neighbours who want to cash in. 

The other land parcels are

SAH227. Only 106 houses are thought to be available on this industrial site.

SAH099 Summerton Road-  32 claimed houses could be built here.

“land owners operate for 5-10 years”. Also does not meet accessibility threshold HOU2

SAH229 Brades Road- submitted as a call for site- basically any industrialists who want to fuck off and leave behind contaminated land paid to be “cleaned up” by Andy Street’s tax payer rip off fund.

51 houses claimed could be built here.

 

Taken together then let’s add up those numbers, and you can see how densely packed they are within a small area.

64+106+32+51= 253 new houses in this small area. When you add this to the nonsense proposed by rattlechain of 322 and 32, that adds up to 607 new houses in a mile square of Tividale. 

THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE AND THE AREA IS ALEADY SWAMPED WITH HOUSING. 

Obviously, I will be objecting to these allocations in the Black country plan which is currently out for consultation at the link below. PLEASE STAND UP FOR YOUR URBAN AREA AND COMMENT ON THIS PLAN, AS THE “GREEN BELT” LANDBANKERS, PLANNERS AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS ARE BANKING THAT YOU WON’T. THIS COULD BE AS SIMPLE AS STATING THAT YOU OPPOSE THE ALLOCATION OF HOUSING IN THE AREAS SHOWN ABOVE. 

Black Country Plan (dudley.gov.uk)

I will also be objecting to the planning application that is mentioned here.  I can only urge people living in this area to do the same, and also to lobby their local MP and councillors to get this shit thrown out.

So go along to the public exhibition and ask some awkward questions of “Rhodia”, but above all do not believe the spin they are trying to put out here, as if you have only half of a brain you will surmise from all this that this is no simple “landscaping” exercise for the common good.

YOUR FUTURE HEALTH SUFFERS FOR A FUTURE BENT HOUSING CONSTRUCTION LAND BUSINESS DEAL, AND THAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE. 

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“Rhodia’s” latest Rattlechain deception

On passing the infamous turquoise (and heavily rusted) gates to the hazardous waste lagoon in June, I had noticed that the site ID board information was missing.

An inquiry to The Environment Agency stated that they had not given permission for it to be removed and that “Rhodia”  were in the process of replacing it allegedly because it was in poor condition.  🙄

“Following your email and concerns, our officers have conducted an immediate site inspection on 25 June 2021.  The Environment Agency has not given permission to remove the sign.  A site inspection report has been issued to the permit holders containing any a permit breach for the removal of the sign, this includes an action to replace the sign.  We have spoken with the operator a temporary replacement is to be installed, while a permanent sign is made.  It has been indicated by the permit holder that the sign was removed due to it being in poor state of repair. ” 

So this is what then appeared, but not on the gate itself, almost as if they didn’t really want it to be noticed.

 

The Environmental permit number EPR/JB3909LT hides the site licensing history of the site.

The EA also stated

“There has been a company name change from Rhodia to Solvay Solutions Uk Ltd.  We have received and granted a permit transfer to this new company in March 2021 under permit reference EPR/JB3909LT.  For your information we have provided you a copy of this recent transfer, see attached.  This includes a full status log of the permit through the years.  The permit holder has not requested the site to be surrendered.   

The site has a closure plan which was issued in October 2013, this sets out the sites aftercare, monitoring and maintenance.  The operator does carry out regular water, gas and ground water monitoring, which they are required to submit to us.  The data and results are checked for anomalies or elevated levels of certain chemicals or determinants, in order to monitor and prevent any pollution risk. ”    

In response to this I would state that it has taken “Solvay Solutions UK Limited” 10 years to transfer this site to their own brand, but that the public face of this still presents the site as being owned by the entity “Rhodia Limited”.

The new permit for the site can be read below.

Permit transfer[563]

As for the regular gas, water sampling etc, the EA do not verify anything themselves on the ground and so how they can detect “anomalies” on the basis of this is of course an operator marking their own work. None of this data is put in the public domain by the company themselves. 

Albright and Wilson-Rhodia- Solvay Solutions- all the same old same old for the same hazardous waste site and operating from the Watford address.

But “Solvay Solutions limited” however have not appeared prominently on the new yellow notice board- perhaps a very apt colour on account of the “yellow phosphorus” buried under the water and geotextile membrane.

Why the small print?

The new warning sign, (condition 31) reflects the new permit number , but gone is the link to the original site licence (SL31) which of course contains the only detail worth knowing about what chemicals had gone in there from 1978. Of course what went before that was a bloody free for all.

Perhaps Solvay Solutions UK Limited are aware that the only thing as toxic as Rattlechain Lagoon is the company association with Rhodia- which of course they were heavily fined for due to an uncontrolled release of phosphine gas.  

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A brick in time

I must have been up and down The Birchills Locks at Walsall a thousand times over the years, but recently I noticed something of great significance for the first time on the pound near to the new housing conversion from the former old mill near to Wolverhampton Street.

An otherwise unremarkable old bridge built from the famous Staffordshire blue bricks, which probably served as a basin entrance to a former works site had a coping stone brick which caught my eye, and I do not know how I could possibly have missed it for all of these years!

This is the first brick I have ever seen produced by Samuel Barnett (and his sons). Obviously I have gone into great detail about the man /the myth and his dealings, and of course the rattlechain brickworks marl pit becoming what is now rattlechain lagoon. The infamous canal breach of 1899 is another story.

I put in the public domain a little lost gem of a piece concerning the blue brick enterprise which dates from 1911, when his sons were now on board and listed as a business. This article spoke of a production rate of  40,000 bricks per day at Rattlechain and at Stour Valley 70,000, which he also ran and lost an arm at in his formative years . I always wondered if they had been used locally in the canals around Tipton, but have never saw any hard evidence such as this.

This blue brick appears to be in remarkably good condition for its age, which must predate The Second World War. I wondered at first if  it had been restored, or was  a recreated forgery, but perhaps these items were made to endure the test of time? Obviously, from research, this must have come from either Rattlechain or The Stour Valley brickworks, but it is only identified as “Dudley Port Staffs”, so we do not know if this is a Rattlechain brick for sure.

There are three stamps upon it, and none visible on any of the others in the bridge structure, so perhaps this was a form of advertisement/crowning glory signature from those who were tasked with laying them?

 

There are the tell tale signs of rope marks on the top bricks, where horses would have pulled heavy loads by barge up and down the flight. The life for these animals must have been horrific, and there are certainly stories of them falling in and drowning after being unable to be pulled out.

The Barnett family relatives expanded into Walsall, and after this find I had a look at some other bridges along The Wyrley and Essington to find this at Brownhills Catshill Junction.

J. Beddow and the Barnfield Blue Brick and Tile works

Another Barnett collaborated with Beddow at The Atlas brickworks in the same area.

I have now become a bit obsessed with locating other former brickworks stones in an Indiana Jones type of way.  😛 Not for “fortune and grory” but just for the fun of it.

It has to be said that I can remember seeing many of these type of coping stones around the canal network being deliberately removed by chisel wielding thieves, and a cursory glance at ebay reveals a rather suspicious volume of “reclaimed Victorian blue bricks” for sale.  😥

Here are a few more stamped bricks I noticed on my travels around the Birmingham Canal Navigations, (BCN), and round about, and it seems that The Barnett’s had a great deal of local competition based in the Oldbury/Tipton/West Bromwich triangle in particular. The Wood family  had many brickworks over generations and in other partnerships, including the nearby Pumphouse brickworks on what is now Sheepwash Nature Reserve.

Other variations of the same name indicate different owners or companies which operated at the same works over time- particularly with The Brades brickworks, which was immediately adjacent to the Gower brickworks, and what became Albright and Wilson’s Gower Tip in the left over clay pit.

T. Walton brickworks, Dudley Port

F.W Barrows, Great Bridge, Tipton

G.Wood and sons, Brades Oldbury

Wood, without the sons

 

S. Johnson, Brades Oldbury

Brades Blue bricks Ltd Oldbury, Birmingham.

Sadler Brothers, Oldbury

 

B.W Blades, Tipton

 

J. Whitehouse Bloomfield (Tipton)

 

 

Jennings and Chavasse Rowley Regis

 

H. Doulton Rowley Regis

Cakemore brickworks and collieries Rowley Regis, South Staffordshire. (made in 1882 I believe from research)!

J. Bayley

 

Gilbert

 

S.H Holloway

And this one was my favourite, where I took a bit of sandpaper to it to reveal the place. My contribution to archaeology right there…. 😆

Farley, but where?

Farley, Newbury Lane, Oldbury again

There must be hundreds of  thousands of bricks that over time have found their way into the canals themselves , disappearing out of sight under the cover of silt. These are survivors of another age, and there is an argument that they deserve to be preserved. Unfortunately this also got me thinking as to how many marl pits had been dug to create these, and how over the last 120+ years most have now been infilled with the most disgusting types of man made chemical waste, like at Rattlechain and The Gower Tips, and human rotting landfill laziness.  Then even more perversely,  some consider them to be suitable places to lay more bricks for new homes on top of that. I think perhaps the marl which made these bricks would have been better left in the ground after all.

Bricks ready for distribution by canal barge at Barnett’s Rattlechain brickworks.

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Rattlechain lagoon- What 3 words

 

The world is now mapped out in small squares thanks to this app called What3words.

As it states “We divided the world into 3 metre squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words. It’s the easiest way to find and share
exact locations. “

I decided to have a play and see what words described a rather notorious hazardous waste lagoon, and I was certainly bemused by some of the squares.

I must have covered every square metre of that site, invited on by the site owners to use a boat, and as a trespasser.  😛

It would have been good to have had this back in the day when reporting the many white phosphorus poisoned birds found dead or dying on here, but never mind.

I could easily imagine this app being used by those absolutely insane British military types during World War 2, maybe “Rattle chain lagoon” was code for something to do with dumping dirty bombs in water with a link between them?

Fast forward to today, and there are some  beauties within the Rhodia owned site.

 

near “the beach” area

 

Well it is, and the way is bared

 

There certainly were ducks and drama, and even a “motel” , as I mused before.  😆

 

 

But perhaps my favourite 3by3 is an area near to the beach area, possibly the same square as where the explosion of AW bombs was taken in this picture. 

There certainly are other issues awaiting when burying white phosphorus in a hazardous waste area next to houses.

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White Phosphorus misadventures #7 A phosphorus dunce gets burnt

 

Not the sharpest tool for sure.

I have looked previously about how several white phosphorus experiments went wrong within the classroom setting, principally because of how dangerous and unpredictable this chemical is in even “experienced” hands.

This is another story of such an occurrence which occurred at an interesting time in history, when it had been largely banned in the match trade , and very near to the First World War where it would be used in a warfare theatre setting for the first time. The principal subject of the youth concerned, Cyril Shepherd, would have much growing up to do very quickly, and it is highly likely that he would have been called to serve in the years that followed.

The London Daily News of 20/2/1913 tells how this classroom experimenter had been burnt after putting a piece of phosphorus in his pocket. This is perhaps a very early example of an accident claims issue hitting the courts, in this case against Essex County Council and the teacher Frank Lynch when the youth and his father were alleging negligence 🙄 .

The sixteen year old Shepherd along with other classmates had collected pieces of phosphorus in demonstrating its exposure to oxygen. Shepherd for some reason put a piece of it in his trouser pocket, and needed skin grafts due to the severe burns inflicted when his trousers, (and maybe his parts) caught fire.  😆

 

 

 

His solicitor claimed that the teacher had shown negligence in not telling the youths about the dangerous nature of the chemical, as well as afterwards instructing that oil be rubbed into the burnt wound! The chemical of course is attracted to such material and would have made the situation much worse.

The dubious story unravels with Shepherd apparently knowing that phosphorus matches could catch fire, yet not sticks of the stuff itself.

The teacher denied negligence stating that he had warned the boys in the class of the dangers of P4 prior to the incident.

 

The following day after adjournment, the same paper reported that common sense had prevailed when the jury rejected the plaintiffs claim. The judge dealt with the matter in a light hearted way, asking them if they would like to take a piece of phosphorus away with them in their pockets?

The youth knew he had done wrong, and that it was his own fault, and not that of his teacher.

If this incident had occurred today  it would almost certainly have appeared on social media almost instantly with protests outside the school gates and petitions for the suspension of the teacher , with some harridan parent looking for compo.  It’s probably too great a risk now to allow such experiments with this chemical, yet that doesn’t stop certain companies of course dealing with its misadventure to this very day.

 

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White phosphorus misadventures #6 A dirty Madame

This white phosphorus misadventure takes us to 19th Century France as reported by the 27th February 1875 Illustrated Police News.

Though difficult to read the text, I have managed to decipher that a Mademoiselle by the name of Brigetté Burckel had been found guilty of poisoning using our favourite element 15. She had already married twice, with these husbands suspiciously meeting an early death. With a third lined up, it appears that the lucky man already had a wife. No problem however for Brigetté, who got to work. 

 

The adulterer planned to kill her nemesis with poison, and although being turned down by a chemist for arsenic, was recommended phosphorus based rat poison.

It appears that she had gained acquaintance with her love rival, and had baked cakes with her, whilst slipping in some of her p4 cake mix. This was consumed, with obvious results of illness. The poisoner then struck again putting a further poison into her medicine and finished her off.

A post mortem revealed poisoning and she confessed to the crime. Like other infamous female poisoners in Britain like Louisa Merryfield and Mary Wilson, she was sentenced to death. Madame La Guillotine would teach her a lesson , but her baking days were surely numbered.

Off with her head!!!!

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Rhodia’s Pestilence cannot be buried that easily

Where has the “HAZARDOUS WASTE” sign gone? The waste that is hazardous is still there!

I recently did a double take when passing the infamous turquoise gates to find a couple of familiar landmarks conspicuous by their absence. Here below is the spot the difference picture.

And on closer inspection……

These signs on the only entrance to the site, (except the gaps in the steel bars)  😆 have been there for years, but recently of course they were featured in an ENDS report National article, which to remind you can be read HERE.

Not for the first time with the owners of this site, I smell a rather big rat, and nor do I believe in coincidences either. First of all there is a brief history lesson required here, without making it too nerdy.

The history of the hazardous waste licence at this site, to date at least when I last enquired in 2014 was as follows.

The site is now classed by the Environment Agency, regulators of the site as a “closed landfill”, in that it cannot accept any more waste. This was confirmed, in this FOI request along with other matters of a technical nature.

The permit (SL31 as was, mentioned on the orange site ID board) was  varied to reflect this and a copy of the notice of variation  as well as the original permit and modifications were supplied by the agency in the request. 

They stated

“The permit was  transferred to “Rhodia Limited” on the 24th January 2014  – copy attached.”

This meant that the new permit had the catchy title EPR/BB3205TF. Yes, SL31 was much easier to remember, so why attempt to bury the historic licence, and the hazardous wastes dumped there  by a new form? 

Condition 31 was the orange hazardous waste sign, the permit has not been withdrawn, and nor have the conditions, even if some of them are no longer relevant to the waste disposal process, though the waste contained in there certainly is!

Who are “Rhodia Limited” ?

This joke phoenix company was set up to manage the process of mothballed ex Albright and Wilson hell holes, like rattlechain, and the Gower Tip. When Solvay took over from the French Rhodia company in 2011, they must have been horrified at what poison chalices had been acquired in the UK, but there again, maybe not when the same staff were in charge on the ground.  🙄

Originally this non- entity divorced from the Solvay brand consisted of just two directors, namely Mr John “quicksilver” Moorhouse “site redevelopment manager”, (and frontman for the 2013 cover up works), and Mr “small amounts” Tom Dutton, health Safety and environment manager. They had over 50 years with Albright and Wilson between them, and that needs to be made clear! 

On recent examination it appears that Mr Moorhouse has finally stepped down as a director at the end of 2020- Well, I suppose he was just marginally younger than when the first load of white phosphorus went into the lagoon.  😛

This now leaves Mr Dutton and Alison Murphy as secretary, with both operating prominent roles in the Solvay company also.

The resignations correspond to the Rhodia company that were there before, it is confusing.

The most recent company report confirms the resignation of Moorhouse.

It also confirms their status as a company, but more interestingly that some remediation works were due to take place in 2020 on some of their closed sites, but were delayed due to “the pandemic”, to this year.

The principal activity of this company is to hide Solvay’s association with the damaged Albright and Wilson and Rhodia toxic shit holes. 

 

But was Rattlechain due to be one of these sites?

I queried with the EA, amongst other things, what had happened to the site ID board, and if they had given permission for messrs Dutton and Murphy to remove the board from the gates. Of course the last time that the site ID board went missing was when Barratt Homes were defrauding people next to this still active waste lagoon by telling them “it was the place where the speedboats were kept”.  It took some time for it to reappear, as the EA inspection records and breaches of the licence show. 

The EA stated the following.

“I can confirm that we have contacted the company about the identification sign and they have stated that the sign was removed as it was in a state of decay and that they have ordered a permanent replacement sign. In the meantime we have asked the company to arrange for a temporary sign displaying the relevant information to be installed as a matter of urgency.”

In other words, “they day av permission.” to breach the licence, now as then.

What has appeared well disguised I would state, is the following behind the gates and metal railings themselves.

 

This non- prominent sign appears to be a leaf out of the Government pandemic con book with branding it as amber, and look and blink at you will miss it small print, which actually reads as an advertisement for Solvay. The “trade” of Rhodia Limited is non existent, but it acts as a device for letting Solvay off the hook, or should that be the chain  🙂

The Gower Tip also appears to have had an upgraded sign on the canal façade.

They “accept no responsibility…”

We shall see what develops here…..

Some wastes cannot be so easily erased!

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Albright’s toxic archives #33 The wartime seaman saboteur

 

If you read accounts of “local history” of this company in the 1980’s and early 90’s you would think that Albright and Wilson the company had won the Second World War single handed. Accounts of their Home Guard, the production of the useless AW bombs and how the works was organised , I have taken apart using factual evidence of these rose tinted views.

Much of this was public relations garbage from a dying firm, still trying to be relevant, who “made chemicals for industry” but did little to ingratiate themselves to the local populace that they gassed.

Strangely, works manager liars like Peter Bloore were not so keen to give this info to consultancies like Cremer and Warner, who in 1990 undertook a deeply flawed assessment of the rattlechain lagoon site on behalf of the Black Country Development Corporation. NOT A SINGLE MENTION OF ALBRIGHT AND WILON’S WAR RECORD AND WHAT IT PRODUCED AS A MILITARY SUPPLIER WAS MENTIONED IN THIS REPORT, OR THE WASTES THAT IT GENERATED AS AN MINISTRY OF SUPPLY (MOS) FACTORY. 

Yet when the French Rhodia brand took over at Trinity Street, they did not want to talk about the war record of A&W it seems either.

The story below from the very early days of the war is one that you will not find in any local history books, and one which does not appear in the company history of 1951 either, where most of the recycled garbage appearing in the 80’s/90’s was lifted. Perhaps they wanted to airbrush it out of history, or strike it from the record books if you will excuse the pun. I am quite surprised that it was even published at this time and not censored, in case copy cat attacks occurred, or any Nazi spies were emboldened to do similar.

The London Daily News of 21st October 1939 reported that James Pinel, a munitions worker at the newly created factory had been charged with effectively trying to sabotage apparatus by inserting match heads into the process. The motive does not appear to have been that of a Nazi, or even IRA sympathiser, (but who can tell), but one of attempting to ingratiate himself to works management by “finding” the sabotage and reporting it. A Munchausen’s by proxy type of affair you may say?

 

 

The Evening Dispatch of a day earlier gives much more detail of the case involving the 26 year old from Langley. Though it is not explicitly stated here, the “highly inflammable material” was almost certainly white phosphorus, and the plant which made the UK’s only production of the chemical.

 

Match heads had been placed in the hoppers, which started fires, and more were placed which did not catch fire.

After reading this, and the apparent confession, it appears that Pinel was a very silly man child indeed. A 14 year sentence was on the cards for this type of offence, as he awaited trial.

The 5th December 1939 Evening Dispatch reports on the outcome in that the former seaman had been found guilty and received a three year sentence.

During the trial it appeared that Pinel had a streak for arson, as fires had also occurred on a ship he was on in 1933. It is stated that the budding Guy Fawkes was “worried” about being called up for military service, and that he was not “a normal” man.

 

 

WARTIME CONTEXT

The winds of War in 1939 increased demand for phosphorus. The National Archives at Kew offer some insights into the Oldbury factory activities in the early days.

The production of phosphorus munitions during World War One was a major task of the company. A 1922 agreement between the war office and Albright and Wilson dated 28/11/1922, which was still in force throughout the period of the Second World War provided inter alia that

“(a)The company will execute all orders placed by the Admiralty, War Office, and Air Ministry for:-

(i)Supply of  phosphorus

(ii)smoke charging of projectiles, bombs, grenades or other phosphorus containers for warlike purposes.” AVIA 22/2938 MINUTE SHEET NO1

This agreement also gave AW preferential rights to undertake any work for this type of activity so long as the company could provide the capacity and undertake the work punctually.

The following National Archives document confirms the situation in September 1939, when Pinel was at work with the outbreak of war. It confirms that Albright and Wilson were already supplying The French War department with phosphorus, that they were the sole producers in the UK, and that at this time stocks were considerably lower than required for a range of tasks.

 

 

©Copyright The National Archives, reproduced by permission to

http://www.whatliesbeneathrattlechainlagoon.org.uk/

If Pinel’s activities had succeeded albeit with unintended consequences,  there could have been a very serious blow to the production of phosphorus in the country. German bombs never found the subsequently renamed MOS factory.

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