ELF was approached by The Friary Park Preservation Group (FPPG) in Acton. The group complained to the local council and their housing association about noise and air pollution problems being caused by the housing association’s use of land as a vehicle depot.
In mornings and afternoons the noisy diesel vans were idling for long periods while they waited to enter and leave the land. The noise of reversing vans in the mornings was also very disruptive.
ELF approached Matt Gilks of Dutton Gregory, long time ELF member and very good solicitor, to assist FPPG.
Matt wrote to the London Borough of Ealing and the housing association reminding them of their legal responsibilities and to question the planning use. There was some reluctance on the part of the local authority to respond to Matt’s letter in April but the housing association did confirm that there would only be four lorries using the depot from now on – this was a significant reduction from the twelve usually entering and leaving each morning and afternoon.
FPPG members felt this was a considerable improvement particularly as drivers were now being instructed to reverse into the depot so greatly reducing all the reversing out each morning. However Matt didn’t stop there. He advised contacting Ealing Council again and this resulted in the serving the housing association with a Planning Contravention Notice. This was a real surprise particularly to the FPPG members who had been trying to get Ealing Council to act for almost 4 years. No one expected the local authority to admit they had not given planning permission to the depot which was causing local people so many problems.
“My understanding is now that the housing association first ceased the disruption and committed to retraining its drivers and introducing more environmental friendly vehicles. I now understand that the land used for keeping the vans has been vacated and is no longer in use. In a small way this has improved the environment for the residents.” Matt Gilks
This is a fantastic result for the local community and ELF would wish to thank Matt for his tenacity.
Martin of FPPG said “After over a month the depot is still unused and birdsong has replaced the reversing engines and warning notices each morning. It is a great improvement in the quality of life for local people as well as important improvements to environmental and traffic problems and I assure you we are all very grateful to Mr Gilks who did a fantastic job. The outcome was due entirely to his hard work – the Environmental Law Foundation have certainly done a great job in putting me in touch with a highly competent solicitor.”