Faulty equipment caused air quality spike say Grundon after Walsh demands answers

Grundon has finally responded to the spike in air pollution readings at the Colnbrook Lakeside 2 monitoring station three weeks ago.  The company insisted a fault with the monitoring station caused erroneous figures to be generated and that air quality was “excellent” at the time.

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Grundon’s Director of Operations has claimed that data showing a massive spike in levels of particular matter at the Lakeside Energy from Waste facility was “mistaken and ill informed” folllowing intervention from Cllr James Walsh.

Cllr Walsh, acting in his capacity as Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing as well as Colnbrook ward councillor, wrote to Managing Director Clayton Sullivan Webb on Wednesday to demand answers.  He said he was concerned to learn that the tape used to record pollution levels had “snapped” for the period in question, and demanded to know why the published data later disappeared.

The Lakeside 2 monitoring station recorded levels of coarse particulate matter (PM10) at levels 20 times where they should have been on the 5th September for a period of more than 8 hours, according to the public online monitoring portal.  The data was later deleted, one week after the spike was highlighted on Colnbrook Views.

Walsh wrote:

“… there is a lot of concern about this alleged incident in Colnbrook and very little appears to have been done to reassure residents or their representatives about what did, or didn’t, happen on September 5th.

He said he was “particularly unhappy” not to have been contacted in his capacity as ward councillor and Slough’s lead member for health.

Danny Coulston, Director of Operations at Grundon's Energy from Waste facility at Colnbrook Lakeside.

Danny Coulston, Director of Operations at Grundon’s Energy from Waste facility at Colnbrook Lakeside.

Danny Coulston, Grundon’s Director of Operations responded to say that only one of two boilers was operational at the time, and it was “operating normally without any issues”.  Emissions were “excellent” for the day (0.4 mg/Nm3) and only 0.08 mg/Nm3 for the times in question.

The incident was apparently caused by the tape at the monitoring station breaking – the breakage itself causing the figures to go through the roof but not reflecting the true level of emissions recorded.

Mr Coulston insisted that anybody referencing the “alleged levels” from the portal was “obviously mistaken and ill informed”.

Cllr Walsh told Colnbrook Views that Slough Borough Council’s environmental team are investigating the events of the 5th and particularly the confusion around the snapped tape and the spike in the figures.  He believes poor communication from Grundon is at least partly to blame for the concern caused:

“It is not clear to me from any of the evidence what exactly happened, but I am concerned by the lack of communications on this from Grundon and am looking for answers that can properly explain what happened.”

He has promised to keep residents informed via this website and the Parish Council.  He told Grundon:

“I feel that too little information has been given to the people of the village, causing an unacceptably prolonged period of concern and uncertainty.”

While Colnbrook Views has still received no response to the figures recorded on the 5th, Mr Coulston said:

“I have not been approached to comment on something that did not happen at Lakeside”.

 

there were also spikes in particulates recorded at the other monitoring stations throughout Slough coinciding with the erroneous readings at Lakeside 2.

There were also spikes in particulates recorded at the other monitoring stations throughout Slough coinciding with the erroneous readings at Lakeside 2.

Articles on Colnbrook Views relating to the figures published on the Air Quality England website were the most commented on this year, and our online poll suggests that trust for the incinerator operator is at an all time low.  The limited answers so far are unlikely to reassure residents.

There has been no explanation yet as to why there were also spikes in particulates recorded at the other monitoring stations throughout Slough coinciding with the erroneous readings at Lakeside 2.  These has also been no comment about previous spikes this year which dwarfed that seen on the 5th.

 

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