‘Ocado diesel vans a problem for everyone’

Headteacher’s air pollution warning as campaign against food delivery giant’s depot goes on

Friday, 17th January 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

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The ‘Nocado’ protest group in action

A PRIMARY school headteacher has warned that the arrival of hundreds of diesel van deliveries near its gates is a problem for the “whole community”.

Cassie Moss, from Yerbury School in Foxham Road, Tufnell Park, said everybody needed to oppose Ocado’s new delivery depot on the Bush industrial estate.

Staff, parents and children fear the new operation, which will see up to 100 diesel vans completing four rotations a day from the site, will pollute the air around the school.

On top of this, the Tribune understands the food delivery giant’s new “Zoom” service – which promises deliveries in under an hour – will use the depot, adding an unspecified number of deliveries by unspecified types of vehicles to daily traffic.

Ms Moss said: “This is the first time we have heard any details regarding the number of diesel-polluting vehicles, specified and unspecified, which will be operating from that site and on local, surrounding streets. This is not just a school concern, this is a community concern, and justifies why so many people and groups are getting involved.”

The details were revealed in a meeting on January 10 between Labour leader and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, Islington Council leader Richard Watts, and Ocado executives Neil Abrams, David Shriver and Ian Starling. Cllr Watts described the meeting as “disappointing”.

Construction is already under way on the Telereal Trillium-owned site. Ocado are thought to have signed a lease with them.

Children protest against the proposed depot

A planning consultation period is set to end on January 26, giving any concerned parties the chance to comment on the proposals, which include a diesel fuel pump, fuel tank, CCTV cameras and retrospective planning permission to demolish a warehouse.

But the Tribune now understands plans for the depot are likely to go ahead, regardless of the outcome of the planning application.

This is because a “lawful development certificate” was granted to Telereal, after a change of usage application was signed off by council officers in April last year.

This application laid out Telereal’s legal argument that the site had always been used for distribution and storage, and was passed with no conditions.

“The planning application seems to be for optional extras,” said Cllr Watts. “They could run a depot on the site without the things they have asked for in the planning application.”

An Ocado protest group named “Nocado” has brought concerned parents, teachers, business owners and residents together.

Cllr Watts said: “Given all the evidence emerging on a weekly basis about the damage caused by diesel fumes, I don’t feel this is a suitable site for a delivery depot like this.”

An Ocado spokesman said: “We are very sorry for the anxiety that the application process has caused and are address­ing these concerns directly with the school, Islington Council and other stakeholders.”

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