Fears that tree killed after gas leak could collapse on homes

By Joshua Askew

Residents have been left living in fear because of a strong gas leak in their street which have taken weeks to fix.

People living in Temple Close, Thamesmead, were altered to a strong smell of gas from September 22 after the roots of a tree perforated an underground gas main.

Southern Gas Networks worked through the night from that day until the following day to repair the leak and reinstate supplies to the properties involved.

But residents remain concerned for their safety because the tree, which was killed by the gas, needs to be removed before it collapses – and there is still a large hole in their street from the repair works.

Residents remain concerned for their safety because the tree needs to be removed before it collapse

“Residents are concerned that there may be further underground damage to pipes carrying gas, water and electricity,” said Janet Croucher, who lives at number 25.

She added: “The tree between 23 and 24 needs to be removed to prevent this type of problem in what may be the very near future.”

Mrs Croucher said when she told Greenwich council about the problems of the dead tree and large sink hole, it claimed that it was the responsibility of Peabody Housing Association, which owns her property.

But residents claimed that neglect by Greenwich council has led to the leak.

“We have been trying for a good many years to get Greenwich council to either prune back or remove the trees”, said Mrs. Croucher. “They are bigger than our homes.

“Greenwich council has not replied to the emails with photographs that have been sent over the past few days.”

Southern Gas Networks confirmed in a letter to Mrs Croucher that tree roots had crushed a gas supply line, causing its contents to escape.

A Greenwich council spokesperson said: “Our records show that Southern Gas Networks (SGN) attended to the scene on 16 September to carry out minor excavations on the footway around the tree. As with all utility works, the utility operator is responsible for reinstating the excavation and not Royal Borough of Greenwich. Council officers have visited the site and can confirm SGN have done this and cleared their works.

“We have not been contacted by SGN making a claim of the tree damaging their infrastructure and leading to a gas leak. As such, we cannot make any link between the two. If this was the case, they would have informed us before completing the footway reinstatement.”

Peabody have checked their records with Greenwich Council and it does appear that the tree and the consequent sink hole is on their land and therefore, their responsibility to resolve.




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