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Tata Steels efforts to tackle dust emissions under review

Natural Resources Wales reviewing whether work has been carried out effectively to reduce dust emissions at Tata Steel’s factory in Port Talbot

Efforts to tackle dust pollution from Tata Steel’s factory in Port Talbot are being reviewed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) following complaints about emissions from the steelworks.

NRW launched an investigation to pinpoint the source of dust problems at the site in July, which identified the sinter plant and blast furnace stock houses where raw materials are kept as the main cause of the dust.

Aerial photograph of the Neath Port Talbot county borough council AQMA, where concerns over dust pollution have been raised due to the nearby Tata Steel factory

Aerial photograph of the Neath Port Talbot county borough council AQMA, where concerns over dust pollution have been raised due to the nearby Tata Steel factory

The steelworks was then issued with an enforcement notice by NRW to put in place measures to kerb pollution, after residents complained that dust in the area had not dissipated. Tata Steel agreed to conduct a further review into the dust problems (see airqualitynews.com story).

The company was also ordered to reduce the temperature of the production process and to find a dust suppressant with more tolerance to higher temperatures.

A second notice, meanwhile, also asked for Tata to explain how it will comply with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), which limits emissions and also identifies the techniques used to control pollution.

Gavin Bown, of Natural Resources Wales, said: “We have examined Tata’s submission and we are about to carry out an inspection to verify specific parts of the response.

“While we are broadly satisfied with the actions they have taken so far which have met, and in some cases exceeded, the requirements of the first part of our notice, we must stress that there are still outstanding actions which must be completed by the end of January 2014.”

Deadline

According to NRW, the deadline for the aforementioned actions has now passed and it has been assessing Tata’s response as well as consulting the public for their opinion.

Following the consultation, NRW said it would then change the permit held by Tata to include the new limits set by the directive and carry out a further consultation to allow the public to comment on how the directive has been applied.

Mr Bown added: “Tata have worked with us over the dust issue and we are confident that the company will work with us to ensure they comply with the requirements of the new directive. The new rules affect the whole of Europe and we will work with Welsh industries to ensure they can compete in a global market whilst reducing the impact on the environment.

“These changes will ensure the steelworks will operate to the highest standards in order to protect local people and the environment.”

The Welsh Government also published an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) outlining possible solutions combat pollution from the steelworks and road traffic in Port Talbot, including the trial of calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) which acts as a glue to trap particulate matter (see airqualitynews.com story).

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