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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Council u-turn on Litvinenko home
Alexander Litvinenko
Mr Litvinenko, 43, died in London after being poisoned
A council involved in a row over the clean-up of a former Russian spy's radioactive house has decided to pay for a substantial part of the work.

Haringey had previously said it would not write a "blank cheque" for the remediation of Alexander Litvinenko's Muswell Hill property in north London.

But it said it will pay for a 15,000 survey to determine the extent of the contamination, the BBC has learned.

Mr Litvinenko died in November 2006 after being poisoned with Polonium-210.

Health hazard

The council has made repeated attempts to contact the owner of the Osier Crescent house, Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky.

Mr Berezovsky has told the BBC News website he has no intention of paying for the clean-up, saying Mr Litvinenko's killers should pay.

The 500,000 house has been sealed off by Haringey Council and residents have expressed concern about health hazards.

After failing to persuade Mr Berezovsky to act, Haringey has now decided to foot the bill for the survey.

Councillor Nilgun Canver said: "I have authorised a characterisation survey of the Litvinenko family home so as to formally reassure neighbours that there is no risk to them or their families from living near the house."

The survey will involve specialist contractors using monitoring equipment to determine the extent of the contamination inside the premises.

The Itsu bar in Piccadilly, which was also contaminated with Polonium-210 in November, spent a total of 16,000 on the clean-up.

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