Council denies pollution levels at Sidmouth homes are outside limits

Angela Bea

Angela Bea - Credit: Archant

District council chiefs have refuted claims pollution is damaging the health of council tenants living next to industrial units in Sidmouth.

Tyrrell Mead resident Angela Bea said fumes from the Manstone Workshops are now so bad she cannot leave windows open or enjoy her garden.

But an East Devon District Council (EDDC) investigation has found levels are ‘well within’ normal limits so no further action can be taken.

“The nine small workshops have been there for many years and were initially seen only as workshops,” said Ms Bea, a qualified nurse who is now an author.

“Over time they have become much busier, and this has now been referred to as ‘an industrial estate’ by council officers.

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“The combined result has been a huge increase in carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, as well as particulates, which are adversely affecting our health.”

Ms Bea said she had written ‘many times’ to EDDC asking it to monitor the situation, request that motorists turn off their engines, and plant a hedge to provide some protection. The authority has erected a fence, but she said it is low and ‘inadequate’.

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Ms Bea, 63, added: “Although we are of course grateful for being housed in secure social housing, there is a real lack of listening to this complaint or taking it seriously.

“The council remains dismissive on all counts – our life here is a misery.

“EDDC seems more concerned with getting maximum rental from its workshops, rather than protecting the health and wellbeing of its tenants.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council does take all complaints about noise and air pollution very seriously and our environmental health team is well aware of the issues in this case.

“Unfortunately, the housing in this area is relatively close to the workshops so it is inevitable there will be times when residents will be aware of the activities of non-residential neighbours.

“We do have an ongoing investigation but so far we have found that the levels of noise and air pollution are well within normal limits and we have concluded that no further action can be taken at this time.”

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