Health fears after council admit to dust problem following ‘botched’ roadworks

Mini covered in dust parked up on Ravelston Dykes Road, Edinburgh.
Mini covered in dust parked up on Ravelston Dykes Road, Edinburgh.
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A CHOKING snow-like dust is still causing a storm in large areas of the city two weeks after it first appeared.

The white powder – caused by road surfacing works – leaves cars covered in it, people spluttering and everything filthy.

Council chiefs have admitted the dust is “greater than would reasonably be expected”.

But residents say attempts to dampen the road surface have done nothing to help.

Contractor Balfour Beatty has been “surface dressing” roads in Corstorphine, Murrayfield, Almond and Pentland Hills wards – a process which involves spraying the road with bitumen and covering it with stone chippings.

But the Evening News revealed last weekend that pedestrians were battling for breath and a lollipop man had been forced to wear a mask.

Emma Challoner, of Time Hairdressing in Saughton Road North, said the problem was still plaguing the area one week on. She said: “It’s like a winter wonderland outside, the girls are coughing and spluttering and some of our customers have asthma – one said she just cannot come here. The shop is filthy, my car is filthy, we’ve got clients over the road and they say when they hang out their washing it gets filthy, too.”

She said a lot of people had been complaining.

“It’s the main talking point in the shop. We saw the council out the other day, spraying water on the ground. He went up and down about 20 times, but it didn’t do very much. It dries in minutes, so it’s not really achieving anything.

“Some cars are skidding, too.

“My dad came along here and had to go about 10mph because the stones were coming up and hitting the paintwork.

“The best solution would be to take it all back up because there was nothing wrong with the road in the first place.”

Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton voiced fears about the health implications.

He said: “I was there on Thursday and 24 hours later I still felt the rasp in my throat. Residents are absolutely up in arms. It’s like driving around in mid-winter with grey snow.

“The road is like gravel and there is this moon dust everywhere. It’s almost like roads in a developing country. The city has been looking to solve one problem in terms of potholes, but it has just created another one.”

He said cars looked like they were covered in talcum powder.

“In Corstorphine, it’s like the surface of the moon. And the problem is not confined to these areas because the cars are taking it everywhere they go. Something has gone horrendously wrong and you’ve got to think it is going to affect people with respiratory problems.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Surface dressing work has been carried out on a number of roads in order to protect the surface. We are investigating the level of dust resulting from the work, which is greater than would reasonably be expected, and are working with contractors to reduce this, including spraying roads and sweeping any loose chippings.”