RESIDENTS are to carry out pollution checks around the boundary fence of a chemical complex.

Volunteer samplers are to be trained to carry out tests around the edge of the Wilton International cluster of chemical firms, near Grangetown.

Giving volunteer samplers their training will be American Denny Larson, who has helped invent a gasometer and filter-fitted bucket for simple air monitoring on a do-it-yourself basis.

Mr Larson, who is flying in to Britain from the US to help, is involved in a campaign fighting for a clean-up of America's oil refineries.

He will be the guest of the local watchdog group Impact, which was formed with the help of Friends of the Earth (FoE).

Carol Zagrovic, FoE's community development officer, said: "It's up to the chemical industry to report on what they want to report. Their monitors are all on site, on the inside of the perimeter fence.

"What we have not got are monitors close to where people live. What we are trying to do is discover what is just outside the fence, close to where there are houses.

"People are very concerned about cancers and respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Industry may have cleaned up its act, but there is still a high incidence of cancers on Tees-side and of asthma.''

Residents will also keep log books recording emissions and flares and other sights and sounds, comparing those with readings from the DIY monitors.''

Ms Zagrovic said: "People want to know what is going in and what is going into the air they breathe. They need to talk about it openly and discuss these fears.''

The nearest local authority air monitoring station is two kilometres from the Wilton site.

Michael Douglas, environment protection and licensing manager with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: "It is a matter of fact that there are houses closer to the site than the monitoring station. No one challenges that, but does that make the measurements the monitoring station provides any less valid?

"It's a little bit of a distance away, but in relative terms it is close to the site, immediately down wind on the prevailing wind.

"The local authority is confident the information the site provides us with is reliable information in terms of general measurements."