Woodchip dust to be analysed for harmful elements

S24507H1 Dust covered cars two weeks ago
S24507H1 Dust covered cars two weeks ago

DUST causing problems on the borders of Fishersgate and Portslade is to be tested for harmful elements.

Problems arose in the area two weeks ago and last week’s Herald reported one resident’s concerns for nearby schoolchildren.

This week, the Environment Agency has pledged to monitor the woodchip loading operation in Shoreham Harbour, run by Stobart Biomass in partnership with Shoreham Port.

A statement issued by the agency said: “We are aware of the issues in the area and we are investigating the source of the dust and what it contains.

“We continue to work closely with the operator of the facility and have their full co-operation whilst our monitoring programme is ongoing.

“We take all complaints seriously and will be making further visits to the site to monitor their environmental performance, including dust emissions, to ensure that the permit conditions are being met. Members of the public are encouraged to report any concerns regarding this to us on our Incident hotline on 0800 807060.”

Mr John Oakley, of Brambledean Road, Porstlade, has been concerned about dust dangers since 2011, when Stobart Biomass began storing woodchip for export.

The operation ceased in 2012 but started up again last June and Shoreham Port introduced new equipment designed to suppress the dust when it was being moved.

Mr Oakley said samples taken in 2011 had been privately sent for analysis by a nearby firm. These contained compounds and elements that are harmful at certain levels.

Stobart Biomass said at the time these elements were also present in the everyday environment and the levels found were below the Environment Agency’s enforced limits.

Mr Oakley said he remained concerned for the children at St Peter’s Community Primary School, because the woodchip now contained construction waste and he felt that would present problems.