We have been putting up with a 'smell' or 'odour' from the Avenue Coking Works Regeneration Project for some months now. But worryingly, there are times when the smell is particularly strong. We Live in Lincoln Street, Chesterfield. S40 2TW.
Due to the strength of the smell this morning, the effects we have already felt and in light of the toxic waste being processed, I wrote the following email to The Avenue Coking Works Regeneration Project, Chesterfield Borough Council Environmental Health, The Hasland and St. Leonards Community Forum council representatives, and the Lead Councillor for Sustainable Communities and Climate Change:
This is getting pretty full on. The smell at Lincoln Street is that strong that I don't feel able to work in the garden - 7.45 a.m. 19th March 2011. It is a sickly mothball smell.
We have had the windows shut since last night, 18th March. We are airless and the air pollution is all around, so that when you open a door, the smell gets in the house.
This is really poor.
A couple of months ago, we left the windows ajar and when we went to bed we were trying to sleep in a cloud of the stuff. My other half felt sick and had a headache and we were both feeling unwell and felt like we couldn't breath properly.
We got up, not being able to sleep and sat in the lounge wondering if there was anywhere else we could go and stay.
On another occasion, I rode to work in a hurry up Storforth Lane through a cloud of this polluted air one morning a few weeks ago. The air was thick with the 'odour' from The Avenue. Having exerted myself in this air, I spent the rest of the day feeling respiratory irritation - dry cough kind of symptoms - not typical of my usual daily cycling experience.
We are not just talking about a smell/odour here. We are talking about invasive air pollution.
Keeping the windows shut is not good for our house, so we have been having mould problems as a result.
This is having a real impact on us and I don't know what to do. I understand that it must be a difficult situation, but at what expense to our personal health are we putting up with this?
We have been in touch with Environmental Health and heard little back other than there is a smell which isn't harmful, our feeling unwell is probably a psychosomatic response etc. Strange though that my partner keeps getting headaches when the 'smell' is about. On and off, quite regularly.
I'm sure you can appreciate that with different climatic conditions, the air pollution is going to do different things, but when it concentrates around Lincoln Street, i'm sure if you experienced it, you wouldn't just class it as a smell and have no other concerns. Personally I have previously quite liked the smell of moth-balls and associate it with my grandparents wardrobe. It is the fact that this 'smell' is having an impact on us, which worries me.
Having done some research I find that the area around the old coking works at The Avenue had some worrying figures relating to cancer, written in a report in 1999. See extract below and link.
"Cancer mortality rose in all 593 waste site studied in 49 US states in 1989 with contaminated
ground water with a significant association of excess deaths of assorted cancers including lungs,
breast, bladder, stomach, bowel and colon. (P les than .002) Investigations around UK coking
works waste site at Wingerworth and Coed-Ely revealed an increase in breast cancers of some
420% in the surrounding population with a smaller rise in other cancers. There were also
leukaemia cases due to benzine emitted by the old coking works."
I don't want to be told not to worry, because I am worried. What I do want to know is that someone involved is really aware of the risks and dangers and that we as citizens affected be told these, and advised as to what to do about it. If there is something that can be changed at The Avenue to help matters, then please can we have it.
Average figures are one thing, but what if like today, climatic conditions are such that we spend time in a dense cloud of the stuff. What will that do to us? Also I wonder whether the air monitoring stations account for the variations in topography and climatic conditions - e.g. is the air sitting denser in the bottom of the valley, such as around the River Rother and Lincoln Street, where we live.
Is there a way to improve our situation and to properly inform us?
If we are suffering serious illness in a few years time, it will be too late to admit that there is more to think about here than just a smell in the air.
Lincoln Street Resident, Chesterfield. S40 2TW.