A council air monitoring station in Sutton Bridge recorded “normal” levels of pollution while the Government gave out health warnings as smog shrouded the village.
The news raised questions about the accuracy of South Holland District Council’s monitor – and whether the council will, in the view of critics, continue to “dump any pollutant industry no one else wants in Sutton Bridge”.
But the council has rejected any suggestion that its monitoring equipment is faulty, insisting that government warnings over pollution were based on regional information.
As first reported in the Lynn News last Friday, West Norfolk was reported as being one of the areas worst affected by the combination of high pollution and sands being blown in from the Sahara desert
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) listed the level of pollution in Sutton Bridge last Friday at nine – the second highest level – and advised people with lung and heart conditions to avoid strenuous activity outdoors and asthmatics to step up use of inhalers.
But the council’s own monitor at the Sutton Bridge primary school, Westmere, recorded pollution at level three. At that level, scientists say people in “at risk” groups can “enjoy their usual activities”.
Parish councillor Jenny Rowe said the council monitor was installed when the gas-fired power station was built, but two more power stations – including a gasifier – could be added.
She said: “If SHDC are happy that their monitor is accurate, they could carry on with their intention to dump any pollutant industry that no one else wants in Sutton Bridge.
“Wingland is an open, low lying area where mists can lay for days. We can smell the power station and regularly see a huge yellow plume around the chimneys.
“This is a real concern to our residents, many being elderly and suffering with breathing related illnesses.”
A council spokesman said: “The Defra information relates to wider regional areas like the East Midlands, which includes cities such as Nottingham, Leicester etc and is a huge area.
“The air monitoring units in South Holland are accurate, reliable and give a better indication of air quality within the district.”