AN energy company is being investigated by the Government’s environmental watchdogs over concerns about dust settling on neighbouring homes and businesses.

The Environment Agency has confirmed it is investigating complaints about excessive dust emissions relating to the Dalkia plant at Chilton, near Ferryhill, County Durham.

Two separate sides of the business operate from the site - a biomass power station and the production of wood pellets for fuel.

Loading article content

The dust was allegedly generated by the wood pellet plant and Dalkia has stopped work in that part of the operation while the Environment Agency examines the complaints.

It is not known who reported the company but residents and business people have told The Northern Echo that many people in Chilton are unhappy with the Dalkia plant.

Resident Davy Chapman, of Byron Road, founded the Chilton Voice Facebook page for residents.

He said: “The dust is so bad residents have to keep windows closed, it is all over properties and cars.

“There is a children’s play area and a football field next to it and they are deserted, partly because you have to cross a road to reach it but also because it is dirty up there.”

David Greatorex (CORRECT), managing director of Hydram Sheet Metalwork, which employs more than 140 people at Chilton Industrial Estate, said: “We have certainly experienced dust on vehicles parked in our onsite car park.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “We are currently working with the company to help them find solutions to the problem.

“Dalkia have responded positively to the issue and have temporarily ceased operations at the site to reduce the impact on the local environment.

“They are also working on an action plan to find longer-term solutions.”

Nick Burchett, a spokesperson for Dalkia, said the dust will be tested to see if it has come from the plant or elsewhere such as construction in the village.

He said: “We take the dust problem seriously and want to control it which is why we have stopped operation.

“We want to make sure it is right, residents are key to our existence so we don’t want to upset them.

“If the problem is with the plant we have to fix it.”