There is a time in everyones life when you cannot sit back anymore and watch while the corporations around you destroy the things you hold so dear, memories of children growing up, the house where your children were born and so on. The Isles of Grain has been home to nearly 2000 residents for many years, the families close nit and children more so. Playing on the grassed area outside your home with nothing to worry about other than “am i close enough to hear mum when she calls me in for dinner” ?
The days where you could allow your children to run through the long grass fields shouting and screaming without upsetting the neighbors, letting your children dig in the dirt for that illusive old 1 pence piece they so innocently know as ‘treasure’! After all thats why the residents of Grain live where they do, residents who simply want a relatively quiet life, giving their children the very freedoms many of us enjoyed on a daily basis.
In reality the residents of Grain are facing a lifetime of heavily laden commercial traffic polluting the beautiful countryside air, noise pollution which would make anyone believe they were under a commercial flight path but more worryingly the residents of Grain are facing the grim reality of a liquified gas explosion which could have a catastrophic outcome to every man women and child in Grain. With the constant daily worry of this occurrence the residents of grain cannot help but worry for safety of their loved ones.
Residents of the isle of grain soon realized that medway council didn’t value the concern of the grain residents, having taken part in resident meetings the council came away upholding the position that they have ‘done enough’, meanwhile grain residents left with no more answers, one resident said ” we are fuming, they seem to have no regard for our concerns, if this is how medway council treat people dealing with the daily risk of a catastrophic explosion how do they treat people who have complaints about anti social behavior!
After all lets not forget that the reduction of “anti-social behavior” is seen as a government target for local authorities BUT the safety of 1700 residents is no more important than the price of coffee in the gun wharf canteen.
A large opposition has been maintained against medway council and LNG grain however they seem to be missing they residents points, they accept if they have to live so close to Grain LNG then at least make sure that every single effort is made to reassure the residents and their children that they can be safe in their homes. We have heard some [quiet frankly] ridiculous comments from Cllr O’brian like;
“get your children to run to the nearest building”
Commenting like this simply re-enforces the fact that medway council and HSE are more concerned about the logistical plans and expansion plans of Grain LNG. In a letter from Paul Johnson of the National Grid to Chris Butler the principle planner of Medway council the national grid projects manager challenges part of its conditions held within the planning (Hazardous substances) Act 1990, National grid explain that due to having the opportunity to purchase (although not compulsory but as good as ) Harvest cottage they are in a position to simply destroy the building and therefor eliminating the need to insert a “trip system” as required by the SIL2 uk standards. In this document we read that the trip system commissioned by the company had NOT been accredited and had NOT met minimum safety standards as required. Further more, evidence shows that two of these detection systems are in place in the pipeline corridor and both were capable of detecting low temperatures, this in turn would send a critical alarm notification to an operator who in medway councils OWN WORDS should be able to respond rapidly!
So even if national grid/grain LNG didn’t make a compulsory purchase of harvest cottage we find it very convenient that the cottage came up for sale thus eliminating the need for the very expensive trip system which didn’t pass the standards for accreditation.
We are left with a number of concerns which medway council view as un important, with just the one road into Grain we cant help but worry about the access route for emergency vehicles, the road already struggles with traffic if there is any sign of hold up. Medway council take the view that they have no case to answer with regard to this, we are concerned that if an explosion was to occur how would the emergency services reach Grain in a reasonable time if this road becomes laden with industrial traffic?
We also look at the responses from Cllr O’brian regarding our responsibility to educate our children, this as i except is something we as parents should do however this raises issues regarding children with learning difficulties and other disabilities. Whilst i agree that many children with disabilities would be understanding of such instructions we must remember that some would not, maybe some would not understand the seriousness of the siren sounding. We also give regard to the elderly residents and less mobile residents who may not have the ability to simply run inside.
We have taken a view that medway council Cllrs for the Isle Of Grain have shown a disregard for residents of Grain and also a lack of regard for the quality of family life that many of these residents had chosen, this begs a question;
If the pipeline corridor ran directly through Grain domestic area would the National Grid have magically purchased all of the private dwellings in its path? It appears that the one cottage (harvest) cottage which once stood caused caused for restrictions and conditions to be put in place, harvest cottage managed to easily to disappear to the delight of Grain LNG.
We call into question the motives and actions of the Cllrs and Medway council and encourage residents to continue to press for answers, meanwhile our investigators will be looking at each phase and measure put in place with the aim of challenging these disproportionate measures. If you would like to know more about this please take the time to visit the grain residents opposition website where you can view in depth the unprofessional manner which medway council and its ‘agents’ have conducted themselves.
To view more stories please click HERE