Essex man says dust is ‘smothering’ his business on ‘rat run’ road
An Essex businessman says he fears for his company’s future after battling plumes of dust which he claims have“smothered” his premises. Gary Wray, owner of New Again Auto Reconditioning Essex, claims the road next to his business has become a “rat run” for lorries transporting building materials.
Mr Wray, whose business restores and repairs cars, claims there is an “unbelievable” amount of dust coming from lorries owned by Aggregate Industries, which has a rail depot based around the corner in Brook Street, Chelmsford. He claims the lorries leave huge plumes of dust which blow into his garage and onto the cars they're working on.
Mr Wray also claimed that some of his staff had been affected by the dust which had required one to visit A&E for problems with his eyes before being discharged, and another member of staff was allegedly off for six weeks due to vision issues. Mr Wray also claims he himself has had breathing difficulties and issues with his own eyes.
While none of these health issues have been confirmed to originate from the dust, Mr Wray claims the situation is "not helping". He claims that they will regularly see around 20 to 25 lorries come and go per day.
When EssexLive visited the site, we witnessed multiple lorries travelling in and out of the site within a 45-minute period. Plumes of dust could be seen blowing away from the lorries as they pass, with it visibly settling on the road and on some cars in Mr Wray’s garage. The level of dust was also evident on the surface of Brook Street, and the junction with New Street.
The issue is being investigated by the public health team at Chelmsford City Council, with Aggregate Industries saying they are working with authorities to take proactive measures to address the issue. The council has said that a wheel wash for the lorries will be operational - but it won't be in place for "a couple of weeks".(Image: EssexLive)
Mr Wray claimed: “They are racing through the turning and junction. It’s like a rat run. The dust coming from them is unbelievable. They’re not driving the lorries through the wheel-wash that should blast the lorries and wheels of the lorries. When we have dry spells this dust drives out and billows everywhere.”
He continued: “The operation is going on without the wheel wash in place. Environmental health has been down there several times. Stones are falling into the road. We first reported it to them 18 months ago. There’s more and more lorries and it’s got worse.
"The dust as the wind blows has been blowing all over the building. We’re having to re-dust cars. We had a large window smashed, a five-foot-five piece of glass smashed. If we have a day of [strong wind] we are smothered in it. I was collecting it up one day. I’m dedicating my time [to fix this]. I’m struggling to think if we can function as a company.
“It’s affecting our health. I’ve been in business for over 40 years in Chelmsford, I’ve been in Chelmsford all my life."(Image: EssexLive)
A spokesman for Aggregate said: “Our Chelmsford Rail Depot within the freight yard receives hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aggregates via rail every year. This is then transported by lorry to a large range of customers and projects across the area such as ongoing developments at Beaulieu Park Station and the Beaulieu Housing Project.
“We are aware of complaints about dust from a nearby business and have been working closely with Chelmsford City Council to help resolve any issues. We have taken a number of proactive measures to help alleviate the problem.
“These include installing a dust suppression system, a wheel wash for vehicles leaving the site, issued instructions to drivers to keep to 15 mph and deployed road sweepers on a daily basis. We are also working with Network Rail to look at repairing an onsite concrete road.”
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A spokesman for Chelmsford City Council said: "The council is working with Aggregate Industries to help resolve the dust complaints and concerns raised by New Again Auto Reconditioning Essex in Brook Street. Initially, Aggregate Industries trialled upgrading the dust suppression on site.
"However, this is turned off at the front grate as it appeared to cause further dirt to be dragged onto Brook Street. In the next couple of weeks, a wheel wash on site will be operational. New cables have been made and a new generator will be onsite to ensure it is running efficiently.
“Aggregate Industries have informed the council that they are also investigating other alternatives to road sweepers to enable them to clean the road better. This new method is being trialled and is hoped to be a success.
“They are also in discussions with Network Rail to find a solution to repair the road from the Aggregate Industries’ site in Brook Street. A new road surface leading onto Brook Street from both the Aggregate Industries site and the Network Rail site, rather than an unmade road, should also help to reduce the amount of dust and dirt being brought onto Brook Street.”
- ^ Brook Street, Chelmsford (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ Sparks fly and flames erupt as lorry smashes through Essex train cables (www.essexlive.news)
- ^ Chelmsford City Council, (www.essexlive.news)