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Dust storm in Walsall poses ‘no risk to health’

By Gurdip Thandi | Streetly | News | Published:

Worried residents whose Streetly homes were battered by a freak "dust storm" have been reassured their health is not at risk from the incident.

A dust storm battered houses and affected visibility for motorists in Aldridge Road, Streetly. Photo: Lee Nesbitt

People living and travelling through Aldridge Road, Streetly, were left stunned last month when high winds sent huge amounts of particles flying from a freshly ploughed farm into the street.

At one stage, it was said to be so bad that drivers had to stop their vehicles because they couldn’t see the road in front of them.

Residents saw dust getting through windows and air vents leaving them with ruined furniture and a major clean-up operation to implement.

Walsall Council pollution control officers were called to investigate the incident, which took place on May 22 and 23, and said they were satisfied the soil was not harmful to health.

Ward councillor Suky Samra also said that no blame was attached to the farmer and the incident was a freak occurrence.

Motorist Lee Nesbitt captured some of the dust being blown into the road on video.

He said a few minutes earlier, visibility was so poor that it was difficult to see traffic ahead and he had to keep the windows up in his car.

Councillor Samra said: "Crops had been ruined because of all the dry weather we’d had and the farmer, unknowingly, ploughed the field a week before.

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"No one is blaming him at all. The way the soil settled in the dry weather and then the high winds that followed caused the dust storm.

"This went through people’s windows, it deposited on their furniture, carpets, window sills. It went through everywhere.

"Residents were concerned because of lock down they were in their homes and they obviously couldn’t go outside because of this dust storm and whether of not there would be any long term damage if they ingested any of this dust.

"On my request, we got pollution control involved and worked with the farmer and ascertained that there is nothing to suggest that this will be harmful to anyone.

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"We are satisfied that it is not dangerous and there will be no long term repercussions as a result of it.

"Yes it has been an inconvenience without a doubt but it’s an act of nature. People have lived there for 40 or 50 years and this has never happened.

"It’s a one-off event. We sympathise for residents who had to clean up and had property ruined.

"But the farmer’s actions were neither deliberate nor negligent and there is no reason to suggest there would be a reoccurence of this.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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