A TORRYBURN mum has called for immediate action to quell an ash cloud which has been affecting the area for more than a week.

Fiona Day, of Main Street, contacted the Press as she was concerned about the dust-type residue which has been coming from the Valleyfield Ash Lagoon in the last week.

The lagoon serviced Longannet Power Station and contains ash slurry pumped out of it.

After speaking to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on several occasions before the Easter weekend, she was told that there was a problem and advised that anyone with respiratory problems should be kept inside until it was resolved.

“Both my sons have asthma and one has brittle asthma and could be affected badly by this,” she said. “The local area is covered in this dirt.

“I had one of my sons at hospital today and he is now on strong medication for a chest infection. To me, it is all too coincidental. 
“My youngest came in over the weekend covered in mosquito bites and it could be because of the stagnant water. They are clearly doing something out of the ordinary. 
“If the water supply is broken, why are they disturbing it? On Saturday, we couldn’t see the lagoon because it was that bad.”

Fiona said they had been under the impression that the lagoon was no longer in use but had been told by workmen “stuff” was still coming through the pipes.

“The same thing happened around 20 years ago and they were told to stop working until it got rectified and I think that’s when the sprinklers were installed. The cars and everything are covered. We can’t put washing out. My mum and dad’s window is looking out on it and the windows weren’t washed long ago and are stour. It is unbelievable.”

A post on Torryburn and Newmills Community Council’s Facebook page said they had contacted SEPA who had been in touch with Scottish Power. 

“The land is very dry and they are dampening the ash down constantly,” said the post.”There will be people monitoring over the weekend and the water reservoirs will be recharged overnight.

“Advice is to avoid playpark if you have respiratory problems till it’s resolved.”

A SEPA spokesperson said they had received several complaints of dust affecting local residents.

“While these emissions are not expected to have an adverse impact on the local environment, SEPA is in discussion with the operator of the site, Scottish Power, regarding the incident and has requested additional dust suppression measures are used at the site,” said the spokesperson. 

“SEPA officers will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the operator takes all necessary steps to prevent further dust emissions.”

A ScottishPower spokesperson said no work was being carried out on the ash lagoons.

“Due to the extremely dry weather, the risk of the non-hazardous dust is more likely,” said the spokesperson. “ScottishPower continue to work closely with SEPA to make sure the appropriate measures are in place. This includes the use of rain curtain sprays and water cannons. These methods will help keep the dust down and we will continue with these efforts.”