Did our council misread the Sahara smog?

POLLUTION LEVELS: The gas-fired power station at Sutton Bridge could be joined by two more power plants.
POLLUTION LEVELS: The gas-fired power station at Sutton Bridge could be joined by two more power plants.
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A council air monitoring station in Sutton Bridge recorded “normal” levels of pollution while the Government gave out health warnings as smog shrouded the village.

The news raised questions about the accuracy of South Holland District Council’s monitor – and whether the council will continue to “dump any pollutant industry no one else wants in Sutton Bridge”.

DEFRA listed pollution in the village as a 9 on Friday – the second highest level – and advised people with lung and heart conditions to avoid strenuous activity outdoors and asthmatics to step up use of inhalers.

The council monitor at the Sutton Bridge primary school, Westmere, recorded pollution as a 3 when “at risk” groups can “enjoy their usual activities”.

The smog that enveloped Britain last week was a cocktail laden with dust from the Sahara Desert, emissions from mainland Europe and domestic pollution.

Coun Jenny Rowe said the council monitor was installed when the gas-fired power station was built, but two more power stations – including a gasifier – could be added.

She said: “If SHDC are happy that their monitor is accurate, they could carry on with their intention to dump any pollutant industry that no one else wants in Sutton Bridge.

“Wingland is an open, low lying area where mists can lay for days. We can smell the power station and regularly see a huge yellow plume around the chimneys.

“This is a real concern to our residents, many being elderly and suffering with breathing related illnesses.”

A council spokesman said: “The DEFRA information relates to wider regional areas like the East Midlands, which includes cities such as Nottingham, Leicester etc and is a huge area.

“The air monitoring units in South Holland are accurate, reliable and give a better indication of air quality within the district.

”The council monitors air quality around the clock and residents can go online to http://shollandair.aeat.com/ and see the figures at any time.”