WE HAVE TO BUST THE DUST

The ship at Methil docks, from which wood fibre is being loaded on to a SITA lorry for transportation. Operation took pace from July 8-11 but much of the wood dust was blown arcoss the road to nearby houses in South Grove.
The ship at Methil docks, from which wood fibre is being loaded on to a SITA lorry for transportation. Operation took pace from July 8-11 but much of the wood dust was blown arcoss the road to nearby houses in South Grove.

A RECYLING firm has apologised to residents in a Methil street for an ugly dust cloud which enveloped their homes last week.

A large quantity of compacted wood fibre was being unloaded from a ship at Methil Docks by Forth Ports on behalf of a client, SITA UK.

The shredded material, resembling a mixture of sand and sawdust, seen as a possible alternative to fossil fuels, was being loaded by diggers on to SITA lorries in what both firms claimed was a trial shipment.

But the wind picked up the fine dust and carried it just a short distance across the road to South Grove – leaving houses, gardens, footpaths and cars covered in a film of dust.

Angry residents were anxious about possible health risks and several believed the dust had aggravated conditions such as asthma and other respiratory complaints.

Forth Ports and SITA UK have stressed the material was non-hazardous. They also pledged a review of operations to improve the handling of the product in future.

The future, however, is of concern to residents, some of whom said they were told the operation may continue regularly for around 20 years.

Environmental health chiefs from Fife Council have requested an action plan to find out what improvements will be made for any subsequent operations, and on Friday served a statutory nuisance notice, demanding the mess was cleaned up within seven days.

SITA UK started clean-up operations the same day, with a road sweeper vehicle in South Grove and a small squad cleaning properties.