County council acts to reassure after dust cloud concerns raised

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:13 31 March 2016

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.


Devon County Council has acted to reassure a Honiton man over health concerns, after he breathed in dust at a recycling centre.

Robin Farrant, of Pine Grove, was visiting Sutton Barton Recycling Centre, near Offwell, on Saturday, February 27, when he says he breathed in a plume of fine dust, leading him to fear his health may be compromised in years to come.

The county council, which owns the site, says the dust was a result of fine sawdust being deposited into a skip, but Mr Farrant, 50, has disputed this.

He said after inhaling the dust, he was‘coughing and retching’ the rest Saturday and all day Sunday, before his lungs cleared on Monday morning.

He is concerned that the dust could be cause of a related illness in the future, such as cancer or asbestosis.

Mr Farrant said the cloud enveloped half the site and that he spoke to contractors about what he considered was a health and safety issue.

He said he was concerned that workmen appeared to make light of the situation by saying it ‘was probably just sawdust’.

Mr Farrant said: “I knew it was not sawdust, as sawdust does not billow up like this dust did.”

He told the Herald that he breathed in the dust after material was dumped into a general waste skip at the centre.

He said there was no warning prior to the incident, adding: “I am worried that in 10 years’ time, I could get a cancer-related illness. I have no idea what was in those particles.

“No one was told to get into their cars.

“It was not just me there, butothers. I am worried that one of us could come down with a related illness, such as cancer.”

A spokesman for DCC said: “We take all complaints seriously and, having checked with our contractor, we understand that the dust was as a consequence of fine sawdust being deposited into a skip.

“We have contacted the gentleman to explain what we have found.”

But Mr Farrant said afterwards: “I would doubt that it was sawdust because of the way it billowed up in fine particles.

“There is no evidence as no one took a sample while I was there.”

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