View from the Council: Paddington Old Cemetery is safe

Council say Paddington Cemetery is safe. Picture: FRIENDS OF PADDINGTON CEMETERY

Council say Paddington Cemetery is safe. Picture: FRIENDS OF PADDINGTON CEMETERY - Credit: Archant

There has been a lot of concern raised about asbestos in Paddington Old Cemetery.

But it’s important that we put the record straight, and rely on cold hard facts instead of rumour and speculation (Parents and residents unimpressed after asbestos meeting).

First things first then – what is this all about?

When staff working in the cemetery, digging graves, uncovered pieces of suspected asbestos in the soil last summer, we took all the necessary precautions, just in case it turned out to be asbestos.

We had that soil carefully cleared away by people wearing protective equipment, and taken away for testing.

After rumours started circulating, we had yet another independent expert dig over 80 test bore holes around the cemetery to test for asbestos.

That found that asbestos contamination of the soil generally in the mound area of the cemetery was at really, really low levels – some 0.001 per cent. These trace levels are the same as anyone who lives in London would typically expect to find in their own back gardens if they tested them.

You don’t just need to take my word for it though.

We’ve published these reports and all sorts of other information at so you can read it all for yourself, and see quite how transparent and open we are being.

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So what is happening next?

Even though the levels are so low and people are safe, there has been so much concern and so many rumours that we are going to landscape the cemetery afresh, taking away the soil that we found to have this extremely low level of asbestos contamination.

That work will take quite a few weeks .

It has to be done in a respectful way, considering this is a cemetery, making sure that graves are not disturbed.

We are in close discussion with the neighbouring school to agree the best dates to carry out this landscaping work.

I hope this will reassure everybody, and help kill off wild and worrying rumours.

Paddington Old Cemetery is safe.