Film highlighting Olympic Park radioactive contamination showcases at Hackney Film Festival this weekend

A film shortlisted for this month’s Hackney Film Festival highlights the radioactive hazards unearthed on the site where the world’s greatest athletes will compete next year.

Made by London Fields resident Mike Wells, Gold Dust raises concern that radioactive dust could have been released into the atmosphere during excavation of the Olympic Park.

Featuring author Iain Sinclair reading from his latest novel Ghost Milk and Open Dalston campaigner, lawyer Bill Parry Davies accompanying him on the saxophone, the eight-minute film raises questions about the 2.5km2 site which has been used as an industrial rubbish dump for at least a century.

Illegal dumping of toxic waste was commonplace in the 1950s and early 1960s when the site was home to several dirty industries working with thorium and radium, and it even housed a nuclear reactor where the East End’s Queen Mary University carried out experiments.

Although the Radioactive Substances Act of 1960 tightened the law, dumping was allowed to continue for another three years.

“You could not nominate in all of London more challenging ground for a landscape blitz,” declares Iain Sinclair in the film.

Mike Wells hopes to make a longer film about radioactive contamination of the park if he can secure funding, based on information he has gleaned through Freedom of Information requests over the last four years.

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Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) director of infrastructure and utilities Simon Wright said the ODA had always been “open and transparent” about contamination on the former industrial site.

“The clearing of the Olympic Park site was carried out in consultation with the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and industry experts, with the clean-up and disposal of material meeting all relevant legislation,” he added.

The film will be screened at the Hackney Film Festival on Sunday September 18 at 7pm on the Dalston Roof Park.

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