ACTION has been taken to bring forward repairs at Wienerberger’s Warnham brickworks after the County Times reported concerns about a broken chimney gas cleanser, excessive hydrogen fluoride emissions, and a ‘low-level haze’ in the area.
Two weeks ago Cressida Elias, of Langhurstwood Road, branded the company’s decision to replace the ‘scrubber’ at Christmas ‘outrageous’. Heavily pregnant, and expecting her thrid child, she outlined a number of concerns on behalf of her family, and other residents living in the shadow of the towering gas chimney.
However, the repairs have now been brought forward to the first week of December. This foillows a meeting last week between Horsham District Council (HDC) and Wienerberger representatives.
However, the factory will still be in operation over the next eight weeks.
This is ‘not ideal’, according to district councillor Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) who told the County Times: “I’m pleased that Wienerberger is bringing forward the planned works which means that the factory will close at the end of November for these works to be done.
“That means that there will nevertheless be another eight weeks of operations at the brickworks. Ideally I would like the works to be done sooner, however, two experts have said that there is no harm to health.
“I’m pleased that Wienerberger have now belatedly engaged with the community. The situation over the next eight weeks is going to be monitored closely.”
Mr Mitchell said that there is still a question mark over what may have caused the damage to residents’ cars.
An independent air quality specialist verified that the emissions from the stack, even with the gas cleaner out of action, are well within recommended Government limits that have been set to protect human health.
Rod Brown, head of Planning and Environmental Services at Horsham District Council, said: “Understandably nearby residents have been concerned about any risks to health associated with the breakdown of the gas cleaning equipment and we have done all we can to reassure them that their health is not being compromised.
“We are in close dialogue with Wienerberger to ensure the improvement works are carried out as soon as possible and that they continue to operate in accordance with their environmental obligations.”
The proposed improvement programme aims to bring the gas emissions of hydrogen fluoride back into line with the limits specified in the environmental permit.