‘Suf­fo­cat­ing’ stench makes res­i­dents suf­fer

SMELL ‘LIKE BURN­ING PLAS­TIC’

Harefield Gazette - - WHAT'S ON - KATHER­INE CLEMENTINE kather­ine.clementine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @KC_Journo

HAYES and Southall res­i­dents were left chok­ing af­ter en­dur­ing con­stant “suf­fo­cat­ing” smells dur­ing the hot weather.

The stench, de­scribed as smelling like “burn­ing plas­tic or tar”, has left res­i­dents with headaches and suf­fer­ing through the re­cent heat­wave as they were forced to close win­dows.

Aastha Narang, 27, said she had to put up with the odour for weeks at her home, her work and her young son’s pri­mary school – all in Southall.

She said: “It’s a stench of burn­ing plas­tic or tar, com­ing from the blue build­ing, the gas tower near Ham­brough Pri­mary school.

“When I have gone past it’s that as­phalt smell, it’s very strong. I can smell it all the time in my flat.

“Eal­ing Coun­cil say they can­not iden­tify where the smell is com­ing from.

“In the heat it’s worse as we can­not open win­dows. The fact is I had a sore throat and I was cough­ing re­ally badly.

“I work in a nurs­ing home and some of the res­i­dents have asthma so I can’t imag­ine how bad it is for them. “The stench is so strong and I have to smell it at work, at my son’s school and at home. It gives me headaches. “If we have an­other heat­wave it’s just go­ing to be un­bear­able.” Tony James, chair­man of the Sig­nal Build­ing Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion at High Point Vil­lage, in Hayes, be­lieves the stench is com­ing from the FM Con­way as­phalt plant. He said: “Half of the apart­ments at Sig­nal Build­ing face east and are in direct line of the site with no other build­ings or bar­ri­ers in the way. “Last night and this morn­ing we were hit with a con­stant odour from 7pm last­ing un­til at least 7am and this is in­dica­tive of our ex­pe­ri­ence over the last seven to 10 days. “The apart­ments at Sig­nal Build­ing suf­fer dis­pro­por­tion­ately with very high tem­per­a­tures dur­ing warm spells. “My own flat peaked at 36.5°C last week, so hav­ing win­dows and doors open is es­sen­tial to try­ing to keep cool, yet our evenings are filled with this foul smell. “We raised the same prob­lems with Hilling­don Coun­cil last sum­mer, but it seems any mod­er­ate rise in tem­per­a­ture leaves us suf­fer­ing again.”

Hayes and Har­ling­ton MP John McDon­nell pre­vi­ously cam­paigned to have the Con­way fac­tory shut down un­less its re­duces pol­lu­tion lev­els.

He told the Gazette: “Al­though there has been some im­prove­ment af­ter my ear­lier cam­paign, this plant con­tin­ues to cause prob­lems from time to time.

“The pre­vail­ing wind makes it worse for many Southall res­i­dents.

“The two coun­cils should get to­gether to sort this is­sue out once and for all. I con­tinue to be wor­ried about any long-term im­pli­ca­tions for the health of lo­cal res­i­dents.”

Eal­ing Coun­cil says it has re­ceived a large num­ber of odour com­plaints in the past three weeks, some “from the vicin­ity of in­dus­trial tar­mac and road­stone coat­ing plant cen­tres in Hayes”.

A spokesman for the coun­cil said: “Al­though they lie within Hilling­don Coun­cil’s ju­ris­dic­tion, we have re­sponded to th­ese com­plaints and are work­ing closely with Hilling­don and the busi­ness con­cerned to find the source of the smell and put a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion in place.”

“In ad­di­tion, some odours had come from a clean­ing op­er­a­tion of one of the tanks on the Southall Gas­works site,” he said.

“Fol­low­ing an on-site meet­ing last week, the treat­ment op­er­a­tion has been stopped un­til ad­di­tional odour sup­press­ing equip­ment has been in­stalled. We will con­tinue to pro-ac­tively mon­i­tor the site on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Hilling­don Coun­cil said both the re­cent heat­wave and the clean­ing up of the de­com­mis­sioned Southall gas­works site in Eal­ing have been the cause of odour com­plaints.

A spokesman said: “The dig­ging out of odor­ous con­tam­i­nated soils at this site has ag­gra­vated the smell from the tar­mac-pro­duc­ing fac­to­ries nearby.

“Hilling­don Coun­cil of­fi­cers met FM Con­way’s se­nior team on Fri­day to con­tinue to press for bet­ter con­trols to be put in place un­der their en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit.”

FM Con­way say they take the health and safety of lo­cals “se­ri­ously” and have in­vested in new equip­ment.

A spokes­woman for the plant said: “Within the last two years this has in­cluded in­stalling a state-of-the-art en­vi­ron­men­tal and odour con­trol sys­tem, which cap­tures par­tic­u­lates and smells in­side the plant it­self.

“Th­ese sys­tems are de­signed to op­er­ate in a range of weather con­di­tions, in­clud­ing dur­ing un­sea­son­ably hot pe­ri­ods as we ex­pe­ri­enced in June. As a re­sult, our emis­sions con­tinue to sit well be­low reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

“We are in reg­u­lar con­tact with the en­vi­ron­men­tal health and per­mit­ting teams from the Lon­don bor­oughs of Hilling­don and Eal­ing.

“Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from both coun­cils toured our fa­cil­ity last week and were sat­is­fied that it con­tin­ues to op­er­ate within re­quired lim­its, as well as to the high stan­dard that we set.

“Within the Southall Green area there are a num­ber of other in­dus­trial and de­vel­op­ment sites.

“As a ma­jor pres­ence in the lo­cal com­mu­nity we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to share our ex­per­tise and prac­tices and are in di­a­logue with both Hilling­don and Eal­ing coun­cils and the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to do so.”

Hav­ing doors and win­dows open is es­sen­tial yet our evenings are filled with this foul smell Tony James, Sig­nal Build­ing Res­i­dents’ Aso­ci­a­tion

FM Con­way’s Heathrow As­phalt plant

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