Row over Paddington Cemetery reignites as workers seen wearing protective clothing

PUBLISHED: 12:59 13 April 2018

Workers wearing protective clothing at '3D' site in Paddington Cemetery (Picture: Cllr John Duffy)

Workers wearing protective clothing at '3D' site in Paddington Cemetery (Picture: Cllr John Duffy)


Kilburn’s most outspoken councillor is accusing the town hall of a graveside “cover up” after contractors clearing supposedly safe soil were photographed wearing protective breathing masks.

Workers wearing protective clothing at '3D' site in Paddington Cemetery (Picture: Cllr John Duffy) Workers wearing protective clothing at '3D' site in Paddington Cemetery (Picture: Cllr John Duffy)

Former waste enforcement worker Cllr John Duffy (Lab) says questions still linger over trace amounts of asbestos found at Paddington Cemetery.

Brent Council has consistently maintained the cemetery in Willesden Lane is safe, with very low levels of asbestos similar to those in “any back garden in London”, although it has cleared the affected soil anyway to reassure the public, and introduced new tests for soil being added to the graveyard in future.

But last week Cllr Duffy, who has been deselected from the Labour Party over the issue, took photographs of specialists working with protective gear and breathing masks at a contaminated mound.

He claimed to have seen workers at the site on June 24 last year working without the same apparatus, despite asbestos having been found six weeks earlier. But the town hall denied this, telling the Times on Tuesday: “Staff have been provided with and have worn the appropriate clothing.”

At the time contractors spotted what they thought was asbestos at two grave sites on May 9, 2017, Brent Council had been building a new burial mound from soil arriving from other Brent-run cemeteries. Cllr Duffy claims asbestos was found at one, Carpenders Park, in 2015, but the council said it was “not been possible to identify how and when the extremely low level of asbestos got into the soil at Paddington Old Cemetery in the first place” because there had been “several movements of soil over many years”.

Of the apparent discrepancy in the equipment worn by workers in June last year and April this year, Cllr Duffy added: “I believe the workforce has been put in danger.”

But handed a list of Cllr Duffy’s claims, Brent Council said it had “addressed these issues previously, publishing all relevant reports on our website, being fully transparent and open”. A timeline detailing the council’s version of events has been uploaded to the council website.

A town hall spokesman reiterated that the levels of asbestos eventually found in the soil “do not represent any risk to visitors to the cemetery”.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kilburn Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kilburn Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kilburn Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Kilburn & Brent News Stories


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.

Election fever has gripped Brent’s politicians, but has it gripped its residents?

Fri, 17:17

Five men have been sentenced to a total of 42 and a half years’ imprisonment for weapons offences, after cops from Brent found two loaded firearms and a large hunting knife in a car they pursued and stopped during last year’s Notting Hill Carnival weekend.

Fri, 12:00

Kensal Green’s Mayhew animal charity is hosting a month’s worth of fundraising throughout May to help it continue its work for abandoned, neglected and vulnerable animals.

Fri, 11:00

A campaigner who helped put the plight of Windrush migrants onto the national agenda is standing for election in Queen’s Park.

Fri, 10:50

The Green Party is hoping to win its first ever council seats in Brent with a focus on air quality.

Thu, 15:30

Council chiefs have been slammed for buying a “designer home” for £1.1million in Harlesden when there are cheaper homes they could have converted in the neighbourhood.

Thu, 15:27

Staff at a Kenton hospice launched their Bubble Rush fundraiser by holding a mini foamy fun run for themselves.


The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

If you have been looking for laser hair removal, beauty salon treatments, or skin care services you may be confused and overwhelmed with so much information out there and so many clinics and salons promising miraculous results.

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most Read Kilburn News

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now