A HYDE waste recycling centre says it is tackling a dust issue that has plagued the lives of residents since 2003.
That is when expanding Premier Waste Services (UK) Limited moved to the old station goods yard in Newton, only yards from homes.
Householders on Dandy Road, Newton, have long been complaining about the effect the recycling centre has had on their lives.
They point to clouds of dust being emitted from the site, a situation made worse by the recent hot spell.
Residents say they are unable to leave windows and doors open as dust covers work services and furniture.
They pointed to cars outside their homes being covered in a layer of dust and fear it is damaging their health with some being diagnosed with respiratory issues.
Frank Ridley, managing director of Premier Waste Services, admitted there has been problems but believes the installation of two water dust cannons last week will greatly improve the situation.
Councillor Peter Robinson, who represents Newton, has long been representing residents, invited The Correspondent to meet them.
He said: “I have witnessed it and shot a video of a cloud of dust flying out of the plant.
“It has been a continual problem over the years, not only the dust but noise of skips being dropped which causes homes to vibrate.
“There is also an increase in people having lung diseases in the area which, while unproven, residents believe could be linked to the dust from the recycling centre.
“I have spoken to the local window cleaner who verified how bad it is. You can write your name in the dust of window sills.”
Cllr Robinson explained he was newly elected to Tameside Council when planning permission was authorised with planning officers having no objections as the site was classed as industrial land.
Residents also claimed they were never consulted over the application and given an opportunity to object.
Cllr Robinson continued: “It has been a nightmare and I don’t know how residents live with it.
“God knows what the people who work there suffer with the dust.”
The recycling centre backs on to Newton for Hyde railway station.
And Cllr Robinson, who serves on Transport for Greater Manchester, added it is officially the dirtiest station in Greater Manchester regularly failing cleanliness tests.
He took The Correspondent on to the platform to see a film of dust covering seats.
Michael and Diane Dillon’s home is one of the closest to the plant.
Diane said: “We have lived here for 21 years and were never consulted when it was built.
“It should never have been allowed in the middle of a housing estate.
“We pay £2,000 in council tax and the problems will also reduce the saleable value of our home.
“The dust has definitely got worse recently.”
Brian and Jeanette Sumner also live near the plant.
Brian, 74, said he has developed hay fever for the first time in his life in the last six years and Jeanette also suffers from it.
He added: “I had my car professionally valeted on a Monday and by the following afternoon it was covered in thick dust.
“You cannot open the windows in the house when they are working 7am-5pm and half day on Saturday. And the noise from the turbines in the sheds echoes.
“It would be even worse but for the trees which partially shield the plant.”
Jeanette added: “We have complained, and they say they will do things, but nothing ever gets done. All we get is fobbed off with excuses.”
Lucky Deb, whose daughter has also developed asthma, says the problems have been worse than ever this year.
“If I leave my back door open, the work tops in the kitchen are covered in dust,” she said.
Jim Hardy described the clouds of dust as similar to that which follows an explosion.
The 73-year-old, who has also developed asthma in the last decade, has requested air quality data.
Jim, whose wife died of lung cancer, said: “I have been healthy and have gone to the gym all my life and never had any respiratory problems.
“Kids are walking to school (St Paul’s) which is just behind our homes, and you do not know what they are breathing.
“When everybody is talking the Clean Air Act and Clean Air Zones, there is no way this recycling centre should be near homes. I understand it is a business, it is just in the wrong place.”
Jim added rats are regularly seen by residents on Dandy Road.
Rob Steadman also worries about the effects of health.
He said: “I look after my three-year-old grandson Jackson a couple of days a week and am reluctant to let him play out in the garden.
“During the hot spell, I got out a paddling pool. We went in for lunch and came out again and the water was covered in a layer of dust so I had to empty it.”
Rob added one day the smell from the recycling centre was one of fish, like “Grimsby docks” while there is a “constant droning” sound all day.
Mr Ridley said: “Many thanks for getting in touch and highlighting local residents’ concerns.
“With regard to the dust issue, we identified this earlier last week (week beginning June 7) and used what means we had to try to suppress it.
“This had a limited impact on the problem but since then we have installed two water dust cannons on the site, and this is proving to be working with great success.
“We always want to react to any complaints that may be raised through our operation, and I am more than happy to talk to anyone who has any issues with Premier Waste and have dialogue.
“My email is firstname.lastname@example.org – if anyone wants to comment or complain without prejudice, I will respond in action to help reduce the impact of our operation.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We have received reports of dust issues at a site in Hyde.
“Due to ongoing investigations into this matter, we are unable to comment further at this time.
“Environmental incidents can be reported to the Environment Agency’s 24/7 incident hotline on 0800 807 060.”