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London Fire Brigade has advised people to avoid the area. Picture: @Gavllen
Hundreds of workers have been evacuated from their offices after a gas leak in the City of London.
Engineers are attending the leak at London Wall, which is closed in both directions between Wood Street and Blomfield Street.
Moorgate is also closed at its junction with Lothbury, close to the Bank of England.
A 25-metre cordon is in place and London Wall is likely to remain closed for two hours, City of London Police said.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said the alarm was raised at 3.56pm.
Police started evacuating nearby offices shortly after 4pm.
Police have cordoned off London Wall. Picture: Oliver Mott
A business owner who was evacuated from London Wall said emergency services at the scene told him the leak was “absolutely massive”.
Matt Harris told the London Evening Standard: “They’re telling us it’s an absolutely massive gas leak in the sub-basement of an office building on London Wall, near the Moorgate junction.
“They said they’re going to have to dig the street up to get the gas out.”
Mr Harris, 42, added: “People were looking, thinking, wondering whether something more serious was going on, but they formed an orderly queue and moved in the direction they were meant to be going in.
“London Fire Brigade and the police are not running around in panic mode, they seem to be waiting for the right people to come out to do what they’ve got to do.”
Courtesy of Sky News
A woman has died after an apartment building partially collapsed in Los Cristianos, Tenerife.
There are reports the victim was aged 70 and her body was pulled from the rubble by emergency services.
It is believed up to nine people could be trapped after the four-storey block – a former bank – came down around 9.30am local time on Thursday.
But it is not known if they were in the 21-apartment building when the incident happened in the popular tourist town.
At least three people are confirmed to have been hurt.
A 57-year-old woman suffered serious trauma to her upper body and a 28-year-old Italian man had a shoulder injury.
Also, a 55-year-old woman suffered an anxiety attack and was treated at the scene, said the Canary Islands government.
It was unclear if any Britons were involved.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking more information following a building collapse in Tenerife.”
Police said it was not known why the structure – located in the central area of the southern coastal town – had come down.
Locals nearby reported hearing an explosion followed by the smell of gas before the building came down, said Tenerife News.
Police evacuated nearby properties in case there had been a gas leak.
The island’s Military Emergency Unit was deployed, while the Spanish Red Cross said it had sent volunteers to help with the search.
Firefighters were working to clear the rubble and search for anyone who may still be in the debris.
One eyewitness told the Diario de Avisos newspaper there was a loud bang, and then half the building collapsed.
Video footage showed debris strewn across the road.
Building work was apparently being carried out in the building but the renovations reportedly stopped two weeks ago after serious cracks were discovered.
The local council has set up a refuge centre, while several hotels have offered rooms to those affected.
Tenerife is popular with British holidaymakers, with nearly 1.7 million Britons visiting in 2014, according to official figures.
Courtesy of Sky News
The death of up to 1000 pigs has been blamed on pollution associated with controversial gas mining, in a submission to a Senate inquiry into regulation of the coal seam gas industry.
The claims, backed by graphic photographs, were made as part of a 90-page submission by the family of George Bender, who committed suicide in October after years of battling gas mining on and adjacent to his property.
Deaths occurred at the property Valencia in Chinchilla, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane, at the piggery established in the 1940s and run by Mr Bender for decades. He won numerous awards for his prize pigs at local and state competitions.
Problems are said to have started as several mining companies moved into the area including:
Pigs gasping for air and dying without physical cause.
Pigs aborting near full term or sows unable to deliver a live litter.
Young pigs becoming sick with swollen eyes, rashes and lung issues.
Mr Bender’s daughter, Helen, who prepared the submission, said pigs were very sensitive to their environment and had many anatomical similarities to humans.
“We have a pig down there that is so dizzy it looks like he’s drunk. It looks similar to a little cat in a YouTube video in South Dakota where they started fracking which can’t walk straight or hold its head up. The only change to our environment is unconventional gas mining.
“My brother was on the tractor and he stopped it because he thought the tractor was burning. He got outside the tractor and it was actually the Linc Energy smell.”
She said people needed to understand that while the gas industry may not be at their front doors, it would still affect them.
“Food comes from the farm … the risks to food production is high. It is not a matter about if it [contamination] will happen, it is question of when will it happen!”
The submission states: “Unseen stock losses commenced during 2010 and as the gas fields expanded … there was a direct correlation to the negative impacts to the health of the pigs.
“The negative health of the pigs had never been witnessed before in the 75 years of operation and certainly never in the life of George Bender …”
George and Pam Bender were told in early 2011 that the odour was coming from the Linc Energy underground coal gasification plant six kilometres from their farm, according to a member of the Hopeland community, who lived closer to the plant, the submission says. The smell has now been called the “Linc stink” by the community.
An autopsy conducted on a pig in December 2013 found “major abnormalities with the lung and heart”. The autopsy was not included in the submission “due to the sensitivity of the report”.
It states: “On the night of 11 December 2015 there was significant flaring/venting occurring in the gasfields. The following morning three sick pigs were found with all animals dying within 3 days of the flaring.”
The submission says Linc Energy offered $7500 to install airconditioning in the Benders’ home if they signed a confidentiality clause, but they would not agree to the terms.
A spokesman for Linc Energy said while the inquiry is under way, it would be inappropriate to respond to questions. He said there were a number of CSG operators in the Hopeland region whose production facilities were significantly larger than their 1.4 square kilometre underground coal gasification demonstration facility.
“However we acknowledge that the Senate committee’s purpose is to inquire on the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining including coal seam gas (CSG) and shale gas mining.”Local GP Geralyn McCarron said an investigation into the matter identified a cocktail of chemicals including benzene, toluene, naphthalene, xylene and phenol.
“This is the asbestos of our time,” Dr McCarron said.
“The farmers have to sign a legally binding vendor declaration confirming their produce is not contaminated, but they have absolutely no control over what the miners have put into the water they use. The position farmers have found themselves in is unconscionable, where despite their ongoing best efforts to protect their stock from contamination, all they can really do is hope.”
Mr Bender’s death was “a snap decision” after Origin Energy tried to force him to sell, Helen Bender said in her submission.
Ms Bender is now helping to run three properties the family owns, with four brothers, while supporting their widowed mother.
On Saturday she spoke at the Beyond Coal & Gas conference at Myuna Bay to help others deal with the anguish of protecting their land from mining.
In its submission to the inquiry, the Australian Dairy Council said that it had “concerns about a number of issues” relating to the coexistence of dairy farming and the gas industry.
The Australian Wine Industry submission said it didn’t believe the gas industry could operate near wine-growing regions and that it threatened the reputation of internationally recognised brands.
The committee is to inquire into the adequacy of Australia’s legislative, regulatory and policy framework for unconventional gas mining and is due to provide a final report by June 30.
Courtesy of smh.com.au