Assessment of pollution at port

POLLUTION from ships and businesses at the Port of Felixstowe is now being assessed by experts investigating air quality.Consultants are already carrying out a six-month study into emissions from ships, and are now being asked to analyse fumes and chemicals from a number of non-shipping sources.

By Richard Cornwell

POLLUTION from ships and businesses at the Port of Felixstowe is now being assessed by experts investigating air quality.

Consultants are already carrying out a six-month study into emissions from ships, and are now being asked to analyse fumes and chemicals from a number of non-shipping sources.

But a full report on the situation will not be available until next year – leaving worried residents none the wiser as to whether there are health risks in the air.


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Families had been concerned about air quality on the Felixstowe peninsula amid reports of pollution causing respiratory-type illnesses, including asthma.

One of the main concerns was fumes spewing from traffic on the A14 and wafting into homes, but research by Suffolk Coastal council in a £100,000 project on air quality has not found high levels of carbon monoxide and emissions known as particulate matter.

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Shipping and activities around the 700-acre port complex though are a different matter and more studies are needed.

Felixstowe Town Council has been delighted at the A14 results and welcomed the news that non-shipping sources at the port are to be examined.

Results gathered of the amount of sulphur dioxide coming from the funnels of ships berthing and leaving the quays will be compared with data collected at other major ports, such as Southampton.

Some 4,500 ships visit Felixstowe a year and the experts want to see the effect on the nearby Cavendish Park estate of the smoke and chemical particles the vessels pump into the atmosphere.

The council has not specified which non-shipping operations are being examined, but nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter are being examined.

An earlier part of the study looked at the heating fuel used and sulphur dioxide emissions from all firms with more than 50 employees.

Chris Slemmings, cabinet member for the environment, said the first parts of the three-year study had been given the thumbs up from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Residents had also raised few concerns.

"At present, the strict standards regarding air quality are being complied with but this review was not a one-off exercise," said Mr Slemmings.

"I can assure residents that the port is still being monitored, and that busy roads like the A14 and the A1152 will also continue to be checked.

"Our next full review is due to be completed by the end of next year and we would continue to welcome any comments regarding air quality concerns within the district for inclusion in our air quality investigations."

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/envhealth/airquality.html

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