A GARAGE owner is about to have a ‘dust up’ with port bosses over the amount of muck settling on his car.
Gary Slesser, owner of Mitre Motors, in Mitre Place, South Shields, says his cars have had a weekly coating of dust for the last three years and he’s fed up of spending three hours a day cleaning them.
He says the dust is coming from biomass pellets which are unloaded at the nearby Port of Tyne site in Tyne Dock, South Shields, and used to fuel power stations.
Port officials have said they are aware of Mr Slesser’s concerns and continue to monitor operations to ensure “minimal environmental impact” on the area.
The businessman, who has ran his garage since 1991, said: “It’s getting ridiculous now. I am trying to sell people cars and they’re all scruffy and covered with this dust.
“On Sunday, I spent three hours cleaning them all up, and then I’ve opened up yesterday and they’re filthy again. So I will have to start over.
“I’ve been here since 1991 and this is happening once or twice every week now, it’s frustrating. I was once offered £30 for the inconvenience, but I have about 35 cars on site, so that’s less than a £1 a car to keep it clean.”
Mr Slesser says the Port of Tyne has sent out specialists numerous times to take samples of the dust, but a solution is never found. He said: “They come out with their tape, take a reading and then will tell me yes it’s biomass, but I never get given a solution.
“I once had a little fire going in the yard inside a bin. I was told right away by environmental officials that I couldn’t be doing that for pollution, yet this happens every week. I don’t understand how they’re getting away with it.”
Mr Slesser hopes that perhaps in the future the Port can use extraction fans to try to solve the problem.
He added: “There must be some kind of industrial-size extraction fan which can be used, or perhaps they could move the biomass around inside a warehouse. This would stop it from polluting the air.”
A spokesman from Port of Tyne said: “We are aware of Mr Slesser’s concerns and in direct contact with him to discuss the matter.
“In an industrial area there can be many sources of dust, but as a responsible neighbour we continue to monitor and invest in our operations to ensure minimal environmental impact on the local area.”
Last year, the Port, which employs almost 600 people, handled about a million tonnes of wood pellet, which is used as an alternative fuel by power stations in the generation of renewable energy.