Posted: 03.05.21 at 11:14 by The Editor
THURROCK Council’s portfolio holder for air quality and health has spoken up in the wake of a Thurrock Nub News report from Tilbury about dust in the town and has restated his commitment to improving matters.
And he says it remains a big priority and he will be seeking to get an air quality strategy in place as soon as the problems of Covid allow for accurate testing.
Cllr Allen Mayes has also detailed the findings of an independent report which was funded by Apex Platinum Investments, who have close links with Tilbury Football Club and were the company behind the now approved scheme to develop a new ground for the club.
Its director Ben Pearce described the company ‘as a local Thurrock-based developer’ with the needs of the community close to its heart.
Cllr Mayes told Nub News: “The owner of Apex is a Tilbury resident who approached me in early 2019 because he saw that only myself and Cllr John Allen was campaigning for answers to what is in the dust itself.
“So his company agreed to fund the independent dust testing from a third party company.
“Five testing stations were put in residents properties around Tilbury over the testing length.
“After which the dust collections were taken and analysed. You can read the full details of the test, which was shared with the Tilbury Town Community Facebook page and the Tilbury Forum. here
“The results were also shared with Cllr Aaron Watkins who was the portfolio holder at the time and with Public Health.
“There has been further air quality tests carried out by the Environment Agency and they have also been shared with public health colleagues and their view is that the dust itself is not a risk to residents’ health.
“I became portfolio holder in early 2020 and had a proposal to refresh the air quality strategy for the whole of Thurrock.
“However, before this was agreed, the Covid pandemic hit and it wasn’t right to refresh a full air quality strategy as Thurrock was not in normal times and would not have given an accurate view moving forwards.
“This full air quality strategy refresh will be back on my agenda now things are returning to normal.
“However, that would depend on how the election results go on Thursday next week. I have also been in discussions with the Port of Tilbury and will be visiting in the coming weeks to see what has been done already to suppress dust and what the plans and timelines are to enhance dust suppression moving forward.
“The Tilbury dust issue is a massive issue for my residents and I will do everything I can to work with local businesses and the relevant accountable authorities to get the dust reduced.”
Cllr Mayes made the dust issue a lynchpin part of his election campaign when he stood as an independent candidate in 2019, winning his Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park seat on back of the dust pledge and his fight against the development of Thurrock Marshes - which ended in defeat when approval was granted last year despite opposition from planning officers in the basis of damage to the green belt.
Speaking about the dust issue in 2019, Cllr Mayes said: "This issue has been going on for too long and the current elected representatives of the area have contributed very little to the cause.
"This has been a long process with lots of people previously involved, however since November last year this issue has been pushed and pushed by residents and myself. We have successfully made the council listen and take this seriously, along with the Environmental Agency. I would like to thank all the residents that have been involved in fighting for this, signing the petition and asking questions at the council meeting.
"I have spoken to many residents about this issue and I have fought hard to get to this position, however there is still a long way to go and the fight is not over yet. I truly hope I can represent this wonderful area as their councillor after May 2nd and carry on fighting for what people need.
"This is just one of a number of issues that the incumbent councillors have failed to address and this is simply unfair on the residents of Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park.
"Unlike the other tired old establishment parties, I have put people first and politics second with this issue and that is what I will continue to do if elected.”
In the wake of our film on the dust, which we graphically showed has settled on garden furniture at a home in the town, many residents across the wider borough contact Nub news to give their own stories of the problems of dust. You can view them and/or add your own via our Facebook page [L[ https://fb.watch/5fxD8K3QXc/ " target="_blank">here.