Boy's flood death to be highlighted by minister

Justice Minister Alex Chalk has agreed to raise the case of a boy who died during flooding in 2014 with the Environment Secretary and the Prime Minister’s advisers, his department has confirmed.

It follows a meeting between the Lord Chancellor and the parents of Zane Gbangbola over their fight for an independent panel inquiry.

Zane's parents dispute an inquest in 2016 which concluded the seven-year-old died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a petrol pump used to clear flood water, when the River Thames burst its banks in Surrey.

They say their son died from toxic hydrogen cyanide gas from a former tip near their Chertsey home and the petrol pump was not used.

They have accessed public health documents that stated firefighters found hydrogen cyanide in their home, but no carbon monoxide.

The latest development comes after a meeting on Wednesday between Zane’s parents, Kye Gbangbola and Nicole Lawler, Mr Chalk and Labour MP Richard Burgon, who is a long-term supporter of the family’s campaign.

The couple have repeatedly called for an independent inquiry but were previously told to apply for a fresh inquest.

On Thursday, a fourth council, Stroud District Council in Gloucestershire, voted in favour of Zane's Law - proposed legislation to provide greater transparency over contaminated land.

Three Sussex councils have already backed Zane's Law, Lewes, Brighton & Hove and Adur.

This week, the BBC revealed a landfill experiment took place near Zane's home in the 1960s, with continuing questions about what waste went into the ground.

'Heartfelt sympathies'

Mr Burgon said: "Zane’s parents have been fighting for justice for over a decade. It should not drag on any longer.

"I call on the government to immediately grant the Independent Panel Inquiry. That’s the way we can ensure that justice is done."

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "This was a tragic incident and our heartfelt sympathies remain with the family of Zane Gbangbola.

"The Lord Chancellor will raise their call for an independent public inquiry with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs."

The department also confirmed that the Lord Chancellor had committed to raising with the Prime Minister’s political advisers that the family would like to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss the case.

Follow BBC Surrey on Facebook, and on X. Send your story ideas to southeasttoday@bbc.co.uk or WhatsApp us on 08081 002250.

Related internet links