Mystery ash: Steel mill had fault during dust fall over Splott

Natural Resources Wales confirms source, but residents say dust has been falling for years 

AN investigation has found there was a fault at Celsa steel mill in November at a time when residents were complaining about a fall of dust over Splott.

“We are investigating a problem with a filtration system at the Celsa Steelworks between November 15 and 18, which caused an increase in dust emissions,” said Fiona Abbott, operations manager for Natural Resources Wales.

However, residents say the dust problem has been going on for years. NRW has not been able to analyse a sample of the ash and dust.   

Ms Abbott said: “This period of increased emissions may have resulted in dust falling across parts of Splott and Tremorfa, but we have been unable to confirm if this is the case. 

“We have found no evidence of air quality standards being exceeded due to the short time and relatively small increase in dust emissions. The immediate cause of the problem has been rectified by Celsa. 

“We will continue to work with Celsa to make sure the problem does not recur and that they continue to make improvements to reduce day-to-day dust emissions from their operations. 

“NRW has not received any direct complaints relating to this problem and we ask the public to use our incident hotline 0300 065 3000 if they have any pollution incidents to report as soon as they notice them.” 

The NRW has been investigating since The Cardiffian voiced local concern. Credit: Ellie Crabbe

Kirsty Taher, a resident of Greenbay Road, said: “I’ve lived at my address for seven years, this March. It has been going on for years now.” 

Another resident of Greenbay Road, who did not wish to be named, said: “This has been happening since I moved to my current address three and a half years ago.” 

A spokesperson for Public Health Wales said it would review any analysis undertaken as part of a wider investigation, but analysis would be under the remit of the NRW. 

The Cardiffian has also asked the NRW: 

  • If it would seek out and analyse a sample of the ash
  • How close to surpassing clean air quality standards the mill was in November 
  • How close monitoring systems are to the plant in Splott 
  • Whether the monitoring system is in the direction of the prevailing wind 

Residents are worried that the falling ash/dust is being seen as a temporary fault when in reality it has been affecting them for years. 

Celsa steel mill is the red pin. The blue pins represent residents, the darker the blue the longer they have experienced the problem.

Alison Douglas, a resident from Page Drive, said: “It has been happening throughout my time in Cardiff, the last five years.”

Jo Willis-Thompson, who lives on Mervyn Road, said: “It has been happening the whole time I’ve lived here, that is 20 years. The last 10 years I have noticed it more.” 

Samantha Ferrier, from Willows Avenue, said: “It has been going on for over 30 years.” 

  • To raise concerns to the NRW call 0300 065 3000 or report it online on their website