Residents’ fears over emissions

HOUSEHOLDERS living opposite a factory which makes catalytic converters have voiced concerns over the effects of pollution on their health.

Two chimneys, designed to extract welding smoke and protect workers, have been erected at the site without planning permission.

Emissions monitors were installed by Mansfield District Council (MDC) in September 2009 after complaints from residents to decide whether pollution levels at the Sheepbridge Lane BM Catalysts factory were within specified limits.

But residents on nearby Matlock Avenue say they have been waiting four years since the erection of the first chimney in 2007 and fear their health hangs in the balance while they wait for MDC to decide.

Lorna Brown (29), mother of two four-year-old twin girls, who lives on the street, said she had been forced to see a respiratory consultant after suffering chest problems for the last two years.

Said Lorna: “Employees (at the factory) are protected regarding health and fumes being expelled in the atmosphere. But I fear for the girls because their lungs are not developed fully. We cannot let them out in the garden.”

MDC has been monitoring fumes outside the factory’s Sheepbridge Lane gates and on a resident’s Matlock Avenue property but the mother-of-two said she would like to see another emissions monitor placed elsewhere.

She added: “We want to know the results. This has been going on four years now and the damage could have already been done. It is right across the road from us - it is not just the physical health effects but the psychological ones too.”

Bev Smith, Corporate Director at Mansfield District Council, said the council’s environmental health department had been carrying out continuous air quality monitoring in the area of the BM Catalysts factory since September 2009, with regular readings also taken from a nearby residential property.

She said: “At no time have these readings shown air pollution to be at a level considered to be harmful to health, having regard to the allowed limits. There must be a clear and persistent breach of these limits in order for the Council to consider taking appropriate action.”

“At the request of the residents the Council has agreed to relocate the monitoring equipment to another property where they believe higher readings may be achieved. The Council will carry out this additional monitoring for a further month.”

Toby Massey, commercial director at BM Catalysts, said the company took harmful emissions very seriously. Said Mr Massey: “We always act on any factual adverse information regarding emissions produced by any of our facilities. We have invested a significant sum into monitoring emissions from the Sheepbridge Lane facility with all tests carried out by us or Mansfield District Council’s Environmental Health Department indicating that the emissions are highly unlikely to cause harm and are well below permitted limits for all pollutants.”