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News Archive > General > Investigation into ‘unusually high’ pollution level findings

Investigation into ‘unusually high’ pollution level findings

By Natasha Swift 5th April 2017

Investigation into ‘unusually high’ pollution level findings
CHECKING THE LEVELS: Air monitoring in Clay Country

INVESTIGATIONS are underway after air monitoring to check the impact of the St Dennis incinerator picked up very high levels of pollution in a number of surrounding villages which exceeded the recommended limit by around 2,700 per cent.

Last year St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council took over responsibility for dust monitoring for the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre (CERC) after concerns about the possible impact the ash fallout from the facility could have on neighbouring villages.

The decision was made by councillors after St Dennis Parish Council announced it did not have the expertise or resources to check the impact the incinerator could have and pulled the plug. Councillors had already set up monitors at Brannel Rooms in St Stephen in June 2014 to allay fears about the potential “mushroom effect” the 240,000 tonne burner could have on village.

The parish council then installed monitors in Trevisoce, Nanpean and St Dennis.

According to the Government’s Air Quality Strategy the level of particle matter should not exceed 50µg/m3 more than 35 times per year in a 24-hour time period.

An Air Quality Monitors (AQM) report issued to the parish council last month revealed there had been 12 exceedances in Treviscoe and 16 in Nanpean between January 1 to February 28 alone. There were also 16 exceedances in Nanpean during the month of December.

There have also been exceedances in St Stephen and in St Dennis there were six between January 1 to February 28.

The highest rating measured was 1,351.91µg/m3 in Nanpean at 8.45am on December 1 when the wind direction was not blowing from the incinerator.

In Treviscoe a recording of 1,051.25µg/m3 was reached on November 29 at 5.45pm. On March 9, the parish council was alerted after a rating of 1140.74µg/m3 was recorded in St Dennis at 10.30am.

A level of 377.96µg/m3 was reached in St Stephen which the parish council pinned on a resident burning rubbish in the garden.

The AQM report explained: “The testing phases at the CERC is still ongoing. It is not possible to determine whether any of the exceedances could have been related to the CERC activities or local sources of PM10s, for example, smoke from wood burning stoves, chimneys or china clay activities.”

The report said a two year study undertaken by the China Clay Area Dust Monitoring Forum from 2003 to 2005 indicated that the china clay industry increased “ambient concentrations of PM10 levels by as much as 8µg/m3 as a daily average depending on location and weather conditions.”

Parish council clerk, Verna Hedley, said the incinerator could not be blamed for the spikes. She said not all exceedances had been recorded as they had to spike for a certain amount of times and some fell short of that period.

Mrs Hedley told the Voice: “The weather plays a part like last week there was no wind so the fog and smoke from the fires just hung in the air. It doesn’t just have to be from the incinerator. We will be sending the notifications of alerts to Cornwall Council. This is the first year we have been doing it.

“Because we are independent all the agreement says for us to do is monitor as we see fit and to make the report public. However, there is something not quite right somewhere. We have decided to bring this to the attention of Cornwall Council.

“It is not the responsibility of the parish council to determine these reports or our remit to investigate.

“If there are more than 35 exceedances we have to get in touch with the Environment Agency. It will be interesting to see if it drops in better weather, but we have got to have a full year to see the trend.

“We are going to send alerts to Cornwall Council so they can compare data to see what’s happening.”

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that Air Quality have received a query from St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council.

“Their data looks unusual, however we would certainly not attribute these exceedances to the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre. It’s likely there are other reasons and we can help establish the cause with some further work.

“We’ve suggested to St Stephen Parish Council that they check the instruments. The very high levels at two sites could be due to faulty instruments, or other pollution sources in the area. They should also compare the data to other instruments in the area as Imerys have exactly the same instrument at Treviscoe.”

The next AQM report is due in June.

By Natasha Swift 5th April 2017

Bob Smith 18th May 2017 12:09
Unusally high particle matter detected? In clay country!? With all that clay dust blowing about??? Who´d have thought it?
Just park your car for any length of time around Treviscoe, St. Dennis, Nanpean, Foxhole etc. etc.etc. and look at the white dusty residue deposited on it.
Correct me if I´m wrong, but the CERC has reportable values to adhere to in relation to particulates etc, and from what I´ve read, an extremely effective filtration system in place.
What does Imerys do to control the dust from their operation?
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