Global metals manufacturer Tata Steel has received an environmental award from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust for its work to mitigate dust emissions from its steelworks in Scunthorpe.
Tata Steel was presented with the overall Environmental Award 2015 as well as the Business Award at the Trustâ€™s annual awards ceremony last month (May 21), with the panel of judges chaired by environmentalist David Bellamy.
According to the Trust, the Scunthorpe steelworks falls within an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) â€œbecause of elevated dust (PM10) levels caused by wind blowing dust off the siteâ€.
The steel firm is currently awaiting a new permit from the Environment Agency under the Industrial Emissions Directive. The Agency previously mooted setting a deadline of March 2016 by which Tata Steel would have to make improvements to the Scunthorpe facility in order to cut its emissions of sulphur dioxide in compliance with EU directives (see AirQualityNews.com story).
In addition, planning applications to build houses close to the steel works have faced difficulty because of the poor air quality in the area (see AirQualityNews.com story).
However, the Trust recognised Tata Steelâ€™s work to reduce dust blowing from its site in the AQMA, which included a project to create green space to mitigate wind speed, which is seen as a major reason for the dust dispersion.
In addition, the firm sought to maintain soil moisture levels to reduce the problem of dry soil erosion and to improve soil stabilisation through tree roots and leaf decomposition, as well as improving biodiversity through new vegetation.
More than 154,000 trees have also now been planted in the area by the firm, while four miles of green embankment have been created with 7.5 acres of the project area seeded with wildflowers, according to the Trust.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: â€œCreating a green space has not only benefited nature, it has made a more pleasant environment for people to work in and proved significantly cost effective compared to the alternative.â€
Phil Togwell, principal scientist at Environmental Technology, who led the Tata dust mitigation project, commented: â€œThe project took two years to implement and 154,000 trees have been planted, helping to remove gaseous air pollution such as ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Trees remove additional pollutants by intercepting airborne particles that are associated with them, as well as improving soil stabilisation to help mitigate flood impacts and soil erosion.â€
He added: â€œThe â€˜Greeningâ€™ of the Tata Steel Scunthorpe site has been happening over the last decade through roadside grassing and landscape maintenance. This established maintenance helps to create a barrier and a dust collection area to reduce dust run off back onto the road surface, making the site cleaner. I am delighted that we have been recognised for our efforts and would like to thank everyone involved in the project.â€