confirmation if redacted information relating to minutes of the CHaIRS group contains information relating to Rattlechain Mere and white phosphorus poisoning of wildfowl

Mr Carroll made this Freedom of Information request to Food Standards Agency

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The request was successful.

Dear Food Standards Agency,

I recently submitted a Freedom of information request in respect of the Work of The Chemical Hazard and Identification Risk Surveillance group, (CHaIRS). Whereas the information in ref. number 850 was answered by John Caseley,secretary of the group from the FSA, certain redactions were made within the minutes or "final notes" supplied to me under section 31 of the FoI Act.
My specific interest in obtaining these minutes is whether and what content they contained in respect of information related to Rattlechain Mere,Tividale West Midlands where large quantities of White phosphorus (P4) by weight exist in the soft sediment that can be accessed by birds landing on the open air pool and where wildfowl fatalities have been observed and reported to the relevant authorities, i.e the VLA and Environment Agency as well as the HSE.
I am the direct source of these reports, have forwarded video evidence to all of these authorities, supported by experts in the US military who have verified the contents as being consistent with white phosphorus poisoning clinical signs (and have gone on public record as having stated this), and directed the VLA to research papers on this subject, where they stated they did not have the necessary technology or expertise to carry out white phosphorus related testing of carcasses.
Wildfowl deaths at this site were first reported by myself in 1999, yet there were no investigations at the time into the likely source of the deaths, i.e toxic white phosphorus, despite the contents of the pool being known to Environment Agency officers and managers in Pollution Prevention and Control.
I was told by staff in writing at the VLA that this issue had been raised at the CHaIRS group, yet when I have queried in my previous request minutes of the meetings, can find no trace of this incident within them. Consequently I am therefore seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.
(1) Can you confirm or deny if you have been given all of the information by the VLA that I have described about this incident, including the video evidence which I supplied them with? As I took the video, I am the intellectual property holder and therefore wish to know to whom my video has been forwarded. I hope that it has been forwarded to all the organisations within the CHaIrs group and I have no problem with any members of the public viewing it either as I believe it is in the public interest that its distressing content is seen by as many people as possible.
(2) Can you confirm or deny that The Rattlechain Mere site incidents, and or white phosphorus poisoning of wildfowl on it and subsequent 2 positive tests carried out on a mute swan and Canada goose that have found white phosphorus within certain tissues tested, has been redacted within the minutes or "final notes" of the information supplied to me previously?
(3) Confirm why it was deemed to be in the public interest to redact this information when this is not a food safety issue ?(unless people are eating wild birds that have died on this site).
(4) Why section 31 of the exemptions within the FoI Act have been sited for these redactions whereby "ongoing incidents where disclosure may prejudice the investigation". Why would the disclosure of this specific information requested prejudice, or be likely to cause prejudice?
(5)I am concerned that the "ongoing investigation" concerning Rattlechain Mere and birds suspected of dying from white phosphorus poisoning on it is NOT being conducted in any way satisfactorily by those organisations within the CHaIrs group, and therefore I have no way of challenging this unless I have seen what this investigation has entailed. I cite the following reasons for this.
1. I am the source of the majority of reports of dead birds on the site.
2. The company who own the site , and not any independent organisation within the CHaIRS group are collecting some but not all of the carcasses after me telling them about them and taking them to VLA Shrewsbury(so this is a voluntary arrangement and cannot be said to be following any scientific procedure or protocol)Consequently not all birds being found dead on the site are being "investigated" or post mortemed, or let alone tested for P4.
3. After VLA post mortem, only if they are satisfied that the birds did not die from any other likely cause, bird tissue samples are then collected by the private company who own the Rattlechain site for analysis at a laboratory to which they are an existing paying client, and to which they recommended to the VLA could do the test for white phosphorus.
4.Delay in testing for white phosphorus is likely to destroy the evidence that is there as a result of oxidation.
5. Reports by the private laboratory are forwarded to the private company who then send them to the VLA for interpretation. So far this has happened only twice. How can this be called an "investigation" at all when it appears that the VLA are largely redundant in this whole exercise, and that the company involved are controlling the way in which information is being released?

It is therefore strongly in the public interest that this so called "investigation" can be scrutinised by them, when it seems that the only individuals that would be prejudiced, and caused acute embarrassment are those within the CHaIRS group on the ground who 10 years ago could not in any way draw any attention to this issue and that an amateur sleuth like myself has had to expose this issue and them?

Yours faithfully,

Mr Carroll

Cairns, Rosemary,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carroll,

Please see acknowledgement of your email of 19/4/10 attached.

Kind regards,

Rosemary Cairns
FSA Complaints Coordinator (Acting)
Openness Team
Private Office
Food Standards Agency
Zone 2C Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH

Tel: 020 7276 8612

[1]www.food.gov.uk
[2]www.eatwell.gov.uk

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

For the latest food news and information visit www.food.gov.uk

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Cairns, Rosemary,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carroll,

Please find attached acknowledgement of your email of 19/4/10 (2 pages)
attached.

To replace the 14:05 email (below).

Kind regards,

Rosemary Cairns
FSA Complaints Coordinator (Acting)
Openness Team
Private Office
Food Standards Agency
Zone 2C Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH

Tel: 020 7276 8612

[1]www.food.gov.uk
[2]www.eatwell.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Cairns, Rosemary,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Carroll,

Please find attached an update on your request for an internal review (IR
58).

Kind regards,

Rosemary Cairns
FSA Complaints Coordinator (Acting)
Openness Team
Private Office
Food Standards Agency
Zone 2C Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH

Tel: 020 7276 8612

[1]www.food.gov.uk
[2]www.eatwell.gov.uk

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

For the latest food news and information visit www.food.gov.uk

This email and any attachments are intended for the named recipient only.
Unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. If you
have received this email in error, please destroy all copies and inform
the sender immediately by return email.

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government
Secure Intranet (GSI) virus scanning service supplied exclusively by Cable
& Wireless Worldwide in partnership with MessageLabs and on leaving the
GSI this email was certified virus-free. However you should always use
your own virus-scanning software to ensure mail and attachments are safe
to open.

Communications on the FSA's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure effective operation of the system and for other lawful
purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.food.gov.uk/
2. http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/

Cairns, Rosemary,

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Carroll,

Please find attached my decision on your internal review request (IR 58),
together with revised copies of the 3 minutes that refer to Rattlechain
lagoon, so that all of the information in the CHaIRS minutes about
Rattlechain has now been disclosed.

Kind regards,

Rosemary Cairns
FSA Complaints Coordinator
Openness Team
Private Office
Food Standards Agency
Zone 2C Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH

Tel: 020 7276 8612

[1]www.food.gov.uk
[2]www.eatwell.gov.uk

Food Standards Agency (FSA)

For the latest food news and information visit www.food.gov.uk

This email and any attachments are intended for the named recipient only.
Unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not permitted. If you
have received this email in error, please destroy all copies and inform
the sender immediately by return email.

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government
Secure Intranet (GSI) virus scanning service supplied exclusively by Cable
& Wireless Worldwide in partnership with MessageLabs and on leaving the
GSI this email was certified virus-free. However you should always use
your own virus-scanning software to ensure mail and attachments are safe
to open.

Communications on the FSA's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure effective operation of the system and for other lawful
purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.food.gov.uk/
2. http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/

Mr Carroll left an annotation ()

I Can confirm myself as the individual who has persistently kept up the pressure on this issue, and who told this lot what was causing the bird deaths on this site. Incredible that this group of “Experts” on Chemical hazard and identification risk surveillance go from June 2009
7. “One member commented that there was no direct evidence supporting the claim that white phosphorous had caused these deaths.”

To December 2009 . “The Chair commented that as P4 probably caused the death of the swan the investigation confirms current environmental contamination with P4 and suggests the levels of contamination in or around the lagoon could poison wildlife or humans. MB confirmed that HSE had inspected the site and advised Rhodia about security there. It was agreed that members were effectively joined up regarding this case, however if any further incidents or changes arise then the matter should he discussed again by the
CHaIRS group.”
THERE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ANY IDENTIFICATION OF CAUSE OF DEATH, EVER, IF IT HAD BEEN LEFT TO THIS QUANGO OF GOVERNMENT QUANGOS.

“White phosphorus had apparently been disposed of in the pool in the distant past and it is possible it may be present within the sediment of the pool, along with other chemicals. It was pointed out that if white phosphorous was to blame in this instance, then more cases would be expected to occur in the summer (as the water level may have gone down, leaving more exposed sediment). However, this has not been the case, as most bird deaths reported appeared to have occurred in the winter.”

From 1948 IS NOT “THE DISTANT PAST” another attempt to cover up the truth and military connections and downplay the problem.
If this lot were “experts” they would be dangerous. In the summer months swans moult and therefore cannot fly! The last two summers have seen record rainfall. Dispersal of sediment is likely to cause more deaths, as has been the case when the Environment Agency told the company to “rake the sediment” or redistribute it in the early part of this decade when the company were still dumping waste and using sludge gulpers to redistribute the sediment.
The same Environment Agency refuse to test the sediment for white phosphorus, but felt “expert” enough to try to blame the deaths on natural causes, or just about anything else but the toxic chemical which they allowed to be disposed of into here. Rhodia can control the lagoon levels like they can manipulate the evidence.
THIS INCIDENT HIGHLIGHTS PROFESSIONAL VANITY WITHIN GOVERNMENT WHEN SO MANY INDIVIDUALS CAN PONTIFICATE AROUND A TABLE, YET GIVE NO CREDIT WHATSOVER TO THE AMATEUR WHO IDENTIFIED THE CHEMICAL HAZARD AND THE RISK,DID THE SURVEILLANCE AND EXPOSED THEIR INCOMPETENCE. CHaIRS- unfit for purpose. “STOOLS” would be more appropriate- Secrete Toxic Ordnance in Outside Lagoon Sediment.