Tata Steel, Port Talbot: Hot weather brings dust pollution for residents

Resident with dust from car Gail Sydenham wipes a white cloth over her car in Port Talbot to show how much dust and gathered on the bonnet overnight

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A steelworks has promised to clean up its act after complaints about dust pollution from residents, who say the hot weather is making matters worse.

People in the Port Talbot area said there had been a "massive" fallout of black dust from the giant Tata Steel plant during the last seven weeks.

With temperatures soaring locals said particles were not dissipating and were coating homes, cars and gardens.

Tata said it had taken action and was confident the situation would improve.

Port Talbot is the steel giant's second largest plant in Europe, employing thousands of workers.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) revealed it had received a number of reports during the recent warm weather from residents concerned about the pollution.

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The dry weather means that the dust isn't dissipating”

End Quote Rob Jones local councillor

It said it had agreed an action plan with Tata Steel and expected the company to make improvements.

Neath Port Talbot councillor Rob Jones, who represents Margam near Port Talbot, said the last seven weeks had been "awful".

"There's been a massive fallout of black dust from the plant," he added.

"With the weather as it is people are leaving their windows open and the dust has been getting in their homes.

"The dry weather means that the dust isn't dissipating. If there was rain or wind it would dissipate.

"I went for a walk with my wife a few days ago and the dust is like a mist hanging in the air over Margam and Taibach."

Tata Steel held a community environmental open day for residents on Tuesday.

Words Tata Steel written in dust on external window sill at Port Talbot home of Peter Davies Port Talbot resident Peter Davies says there is no escaping the dust
'Action plan'

"We have had some issues with dust emission recently," said a Tata Steel spokesman.

"We have had some technical issues but action has been taken and we are confident of improvement.

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We have had some technical issues but action has been taken and we are confident of improvement”

End Quote Tata Steel

"In tackling the matter of dust emission in the long term, we have a air quality action plan which includes multiple initiatives all designed to reduce ambient dust levels and we will be working with other relevant companies to reduce what is generated from the steelworks site."

But the spokesman said it was always more challenging in dry weather.

He said the company monitored dust levels closely and was scrutinised by NRW and the local authority.

NRW said its officers had inspected the steelworks and it was confident it had identified the part of the site which was generating the dust.

"We've agreed an action plan with Tata Steel Ltd and we expect the company to make improvements to reduce the amount of dust coming from the site," said an NRW spokeswoman.

"If we don't see satisfactory progress made at the site we will consider if further measures are necessary."

But for residents like Peter Davies, the promise of action is of little comfort in the hot weather.

Plume of smoke coming from Port Talbot's steel plant Residents say the steel plant often discharges plumes of black smoke

"The pollution is at an all time high," he told BBC Wales news online.

"The black plumes coming out of the furnace are horrendous. It covers everything every night. Our garden gets covered with the pollution and we have to wash our garden furniture daily.

"I have painted walls in my garden and I have lost the will to refresh them - within a matter of days they are coated with a silvery black dust.

"Radical action needs to be take."

Forecasters are expecting the hot weather to continue for several days.

The number of people suffering sunstroke, sunburn and heatwave-related injuries is stretching hospital emergency departments, doctors say.

Others injuries include toes amputated due to gardening accidents and people hurt in falls as more go out and about.

Do you live in the area and have you been affected by dust? Have you a photo of the problem?

We have a newborn baby and with the hot weather we have been having it has been imperative that we keep him cool. To our horror after leaving several windows open over night and throughout the day we have found a layer of black dust with glitter like particles all over our surfaces in our home! Our new born baby has been inhaling this disgusting dust. Who knows if it will effect his health in the long term?

Mrs James, Margam

I live in margam and have been layered in glittery dust daily for weeks , my grandaughter suffers with her skin (ECZEMA), and my son who has also had severe outbreaks, I have lived here for 13 yrs and have never witnessed it this bad and I have made complaints in the past but I am absolutely disgusted with them as they have not had the decency to even warn us, why should we suffer for TATA steel to make millions, it leaves a layer daily over every surface, having to rewash dishes before use, close windows, if i went and dumped some rubbish on their office carpet I would get done for fly tipping !!! So WHY havn`t they because they dump it on us daily! other streets get help with cleaning products and tata cleans their patio furniture and windows, but nobody has approached anyone in our street I find this insulting !!!!

Leanne Wood, Margam

My Mother Suffers When She At Home In Margam With Chest Problems. Yet As Soon As She Stays In Scotland With Relatives For A Month It Clears Up And She Gets No Problems. This Happens All Year Not Only When We Get Dry-Sunny Weather. Perhaps Wind And Rain Dilute The Pollution Problems For The Rest Of the Year. Very Difficult Situation For Authorities As Tata A Big Employer And Perhaps Being Allowed Concessions.

K Andrews, Neath Port Talbot

It's been an ongoing problem since before I was born, first British Steel,then Corus, then Tata, some days, you can smell Port Talbot before you can see it.Yet as it's a major employer, no-one seems too have the will too take them too task. Certainly not NPTCBC.

Ben Williams, Cwmafan

Every time I visit Port Talbot as you approach on the M4 or by Train you can see a mist hanging over the town, the dust problems has been going on for over 30 years and all owners advised they would sort it, but still not happening, profit before people???

Steve McCombe, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

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