A council boss was made to apologise after he ignored councillors who wanted to review a decision to give an under-fire company an environmental licence.

The revelation was made at a council meeting last week about how to monitor allegations of noise and sound pollution from concrete supplier Rapid Ready Mix, in Garth Road, Lower Morden.

The company, which had been trading without an air emissions licence for two years until January this year, was granted the permit by Chris Lee, director of environment and regeneration, despite the ward’s three elected councillors asking that they review his decision

Merton Council met last week to decide whether it would spend £15,000 on equipment to measure the air quality to find out if it poses a health risk as is believed by residents.

Daniel Bailey, who lives in Lynmouth Avenue, said: “The problem is we don’t know if it is safe or not.

"Are these particles going to give us cancer or not? No one will tell us. We want some monitoring to tell us how long we are going to live.

Mr Bailey then suggested, if the council did not want to pay for it, that perhaps Rapid Ready Mix could pay for the equipment.

Councillor Richard Hilton, a member of the sustainable communities panel, said: “When we have an under-spend of £15m which makes this 0.001 per cent of that budget... members of this committee do not want to send a message [that] we don’t care about our residents getting cancer for the sake of £15,000.

“The department has failed to do any sort of enforcement at all. This factory has been operating without these permits for several years.”

A council spokesman confirmed Mr Lee had apologised to the councillors but would not comment on what further action would be taken.

Chief executive of Merton Council, Ged Curran, said: “We do not comment on
individual cases.

"However, I would want to stress that our director of environment and regeneration is a very well respected officer who has my complete support.”


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