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Work on controversial Ocado site continues in lockdown

Warning over coronavirus social-distancing measures at food delivery giant’s distribution hub opposed by primary school parents

24 April, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

A protest against the proposed Ocado distribution site and diesel refuelling centre in Archway

A CAMPAIGN group opposing plans for an Ocado delivery hub near a primary school has raised concerns over building work during the coronavirus lockdown.

The food delivery giant has come under fire for its proposed distribution site and diesel refuelling centre which could see up to 100 vans making two trips a day from the development.

In response to a backlash from parents and clean-air activists over the threat of pollution to Yerbury Primary School in Archway, Ocado offered to run a fully electric delivery fleet from the industrial estate – a suggestion which depends on council and UK Power Network (UKPN) support.

But the Town Hall confirmed this week it is yet to hear from UKPN or Ocado about the feasibility of such a plan, and added that the proposals would go back out for public consultation once the practicalities of running an electric fleet were established.

The “Nocado” opposition group say continuing work at the site is disrupting classes for key worker children in the school.

A council spokesman confirmed environmental health officers have investigated noise complaints, and issued a notice requiring the building contractor to observe additional quiet hours in order to minimise disruption.

“They [Ocado] are not stopping the building work,” said Nocado’s Fenella Grey.

“And by continuing, they are not paying any attention to the safety of the community’s children or the health of residents in the area. There are links between air quality and coronavirus. This needs to stop. The health of the community needs to be protected.”

Council leader Richard Watts, said the Town Hall remained “strongly opposed” to any proposal that would lead to an increase of highly polluting vehicles around Yerbury School, and added that the company had a responsibility to protect their staff by using social-distancing measures on the site.

He added: “Following the promises Ocado had made before the Covid-19 crisis began, Islington Council are still waiting to see how they plan to fully operate the site with only electric vehicles. During the period of crisis, Ocado have a responsibility to protect their staff working on the site and must ensure staff are adhering to all government guidance, including social distancing.”

Ocado were contacted by the Tribune but declined to comment.

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