It has come from operations being undertaken by Churngold, Boomeco and Stobart Biomass at the port. Stobart in particular was bringing in waste timber and other plant material known as biomass, then turned it into wood chippings to be exported for use in generating electricity.
Local councillor Siobhan Kennedy-Hall and local MP Charlotte Leslie have been working closely with residents whose lives were blighted and property affected during these ‘dust storms’. Cllr Siobhan says, “After numerous discussions, meetings and site visits with The Port, Stobart Biomass and the Environment Agency, we are insistent that actions must be implemented to eliminate and limit the amount of dust being created at the site.”
After residents raised concerns, the Stobart Biomass plant was ordered to stop wood chipping operations in January. Whilst they are allowed to process the wood, they have been ordered to introduce two ‘dust buster’ water sprinkler machines designed to dampen the wood to stop the dust being blown about by the breeze. But whilst welcomed, these measures do not seem to be followed at all times and do not go far enough.
Siobhan continues, “It’s about time that the powers that be recognized that Avonmouth is a village and not a dumping ground; we love our village and its community.”
Charlotte Leslie MP has been in discussions with the port, the environment agency and has now written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman. She says that neither local people’s health or the local environment should be put at risk, and that there should be proper checks and regulations in place. She wrote “We recognise that biomass is a vital component for UK energy supply…but we want to make sure that the current permitting regime is up to the task of regulating this new product.”
We all want to see greener energy succeed, and to see local business flourish, but Cllr. Kennedy-Hall and your local MP Charlotte Leslie are continuing to work on your behalf to ensure successful green energy and business is not at the expense of Avonmouth families’ and residents’ health.