'It covers everything': Waste company pledges to review as dust envelopes industrial estate

Regent Shipping Agencies Ltd

A view of S Walsh and Sons working. - Credit: Regent Shipping Agencies Ltd

Businesses at an industrial park in Rainham have raised concerns about "insurmountable" dust allegedly blanketing the area, exacerbating asthma and sending workers into coughing fits. 

Regent Shipping, Delta Cleaning Supplies and another neighbouring business, which would prefer to remain unnamed, in Easter Industrial Park have all reported concerns about the rising "dust pollution", which they allege is a byproduct of work by S Walsh and Sons.

The company, which works from Ferry Lane, recycles unwanted construction waste from across east London and turns it into reusable materials.

Its spokesperson said it takes health, safety and environmental responsibilities "very seriously" and is liaising with the Environment Agency (EA), Havering Council and neighbours to promptly address issues. 

There will be review of the operation soon, they said, after a busy period for the construction industry. 

Managing director of Delta Cleaning Supplies Richard Collett said: “The dust in the air gets in your eyes whilst outside taking in deliveries, loading vans. It covers everything in the warehouse and being a supplier of cleaning and hygiene products, this is not a desirable situation.”  

Breathing in this air is not good for workers' health, he said, adding: “I am concerned about the build-up of excess dust on the roof of the building as well as what is being washed down the drain pipes and possibly setting hard, causing future issues."

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A spokesperson from a neighbouring business, claimed they have to clean windows weekly due to the problem.

Acknowledging S Walsh and Sons carry out an “important role”, they said it “should not be at the detriment of the local businesses" and the “health of hundreds of people employed locally”.

Director of Regent Shipping Maria - who would prefer to only use her first name - added: “Currently the situation presents a severe health risk, particularly causation or exacerbation of lung damage, environmental concerns due to air pollution and the continual nuisance cleaning up insurmountable dust both inside and outside of the building.”  

Windows cannot be opened without “swathes of dust entering, causing mess and inciting prolonged coughing attacks”, she claimed, noting that she must use her asthma inhaler daily.  

She said Regent Shipping has to pay to clean the mess: "It is utterly miserable and exhausting having to suffer like this day after day.”  

A spokesperson for Havering Council said the site is licensed by EA and any enforcement action is led by that organisation. 

They encouraged businesses to report any concerns to EA and said the authority supports any investigation it carries out.

A spokesperson for EA confirmed it has received a "number of reports" about the permitted waste operation on Ferry Lane in Rainham.

They said: "We are working with the Havering environmental health team and will be carrying out a site inspection in the next fortnight to see what improvements can be made to prevent dust escaping."

S Walsh and Sons said there has been a “surge in activity at the site over recent months because of all the building work going on”.  

The spokesperson added: “As we have got busier, we have stepped up our efforts to minimise dust and stop material becoming airborne, in accordance with our permits and certifications.” 


A neighbouring business's view of S Walsh and Sons working.  - Credit: Submitted

They continued: “We take our health, safety and environmental responsibilities very seriously and we continue to liaise with the Environment Agency, local council and our neighbours to address issues as promptly as possible.” 

A review is set to take place, they added.

"After a particularly busy period for construction, we expect things will quieten down during the autumn.  

“This will allow us to review the whole operation, assess the current control measures and take further actions to reduce the chances of a recurrence in future.”