16/07/2017 London News


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16/07/2017

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That's all from me, stay with us on BBC1,

:00:00.:00:12.

Good evening, welcome to BBC London News.

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The London School of Economics could be facing legal action

:00:15.:00:20.

A group of postgraduates claim a block of halls near Borough

:00:21.:00:28.

became overrun by mice, contaminated with mould and riddled

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They're now crowdfunding to raise money to pay for legal fees,

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in what they allege is a breach of its tenancy contract.

:00:35.:00:36.

Students at the London School of Economics took these photos

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of their University rooms at Sidney Webb House in Borough.

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They say they were so unhygienic, they made the students ill.

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Eye irritation, I also had intense headaches, coughing,

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and because of that I went to the doctor and it was there

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when the doctor said, you have to change your room immediately.

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They say at least 15 students have gone to hospital because of problems

:01:06.:01:08.

created by the conditions, but more were affected.

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I developed a series of skin infections, which I never had.

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It's reached the extent that I couldn't walk, basically.

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I had to go to the emergency section of St Thomas and Guy's Hospital

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Severe headaches, problems breathing, problems getting to sleep

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at night, waking up with a very sore throat, a dry throat,

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these are all symptoms related to mould exposure and mould spores

:01:32.:01:34.

Students were initially offered ?100 as a goodwill gesture,

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Now they're looking into taking legal action against the university.

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Accommodation is difficult obviously, but universities

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have a responsibility to their students,

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They must be able to live in reasonable conditions.

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As you can see, it's under refurbishment.

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The LSE did say they were aware of the complaints

:02:00.:02:01.

The University also says pest control was sent in.

:02:02.:02:04.

The students say this was not the way they planned

:02:05.:02:07.

To spend our time talking about mice and rodents and mould in our house

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is something we did not sacrifice so much to come here to do,

:02:16.:02:19.

They are now fund-raising for their campaign and are waiting

:02:20.:02:21.

It's destroying native species on riverbanks,

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Introduced in the 1800s as a garden plant, the Himalayan Balsam smothers

:02:30.:02:35.

Now conservationists have found a novel way of dealing with it

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and raising funds at the same time, as Yvonne Hall explains.

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The Himalayan Balsam, brought to the UK by Victorian explorers.

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Now it's spreading across river banks, gardens and allotments,

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It really overshadows everything and that has a massive knock-on

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The only way to get rid of it is pulling it up by hand.

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Here, next to the River Stort in Hertfordshire, conservationists

:03:10.:03:11.

and volunteers are trying to destroy hundreds of plants before

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And each plant can shoot 800 seeds, up to 22 feet away.

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Normally, once the Himalayan Balsam is cleared from the river banks,

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it's just thrown away, but a while ago conservationists

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were talking to the owners of a distillery.

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Between them they came up with a plan to do something much

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Then add them to alcohol, juniper, orange and lime

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and a few more ingredients, and turn the invasive

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The whole idea was for us to develop a gin that, rather than be

:03:47.:04:00.

using botanicals that were farmed or foraged, were to use something

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that was going to be thrown away, and the trust indicated

:04:04.:04:05.

that they had these clearing projects.

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Himalayan Balsam was one of the effectively rogue plants

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and we were looking for a way to use it in a gin and then have a gin

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that we could use to raise money for the trust.

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And purely in the interest of investigative journalism

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Definitely getting notes of invasive species there.

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Let's get you up to date on the weather.

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Any lingering cloud will clear, things could turn hazy with

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temperatures up to 26 Celsius. Not bad.

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Well that's it - Sonja Jessop will be here tomorrow morning from 6.20.

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