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White dust health scare

Ben Stokes by one of the vehicles covered in white dust. Picture: MATT WALKER
Ben Stokes by one of the vehicles covered in white dust. Picture: MATT WALKER

A BOROUGH councillor fears the health of Iwade residents may be affected by white dust which regularly covers cars and homes in the village.

Ward member Ben Stokes, who has asked Swale council’s environmental team to investigate and monitor the nuisance, said: "It raises concerns because if it is a fine dust then it can be breathed in."

Cllr Stokes said villagers with worries should contact the council whose officers were taking samples of the powder.

David Ledger, the council’s environmental protection team manager, said three complaints had been received so far about the dust.

Complainants had been asked to keep a log of days and times when there were dust problems and then give them to council officers so they could investigate.

Parish council clerk Sarah George said complaints about the powder had been passed to the borough council by parish councillors.

She said the dust might be coming from house building sites in Iwade, the nearby second Swale crossing works or from Knauf, the plasterboard manufacturers, at Ridham Dock.

Mrs George, who lives at Woodpecker Drive, added: "It covers the whole village. Widnows and cars are always covered in white powder."

Mr Ledger told complainants in a letter: "There is currently a lot of construction work taking place at a number of sites in Iwade. There is also extensive high level work on the new Swale bridge construction site.

"Any of these may well contribute signifcantly to the dust at your property."

Mr Ledger said the Knauf factory, which was regulated by the council, was two kilometres from the village which was quite a distance for dust be carried, although he added: "I accept that this may happen on limited days of the high wind with an easterly wind."

Mr Ledger said Knauf had improved their overall housekeeping in recent years which included improvements to road sweeping on the site.

Trevor Ellis, Knauf’s quality, safety and environmental manager, said the firm would issue a statement soon. Meanwhile it was co-operating with the council’s investigation.

Complaints can be sent to pollution@swale.gov.uk or phone 01795 424341.

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