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Residents' cars 'covered' in grit from M4 smart motorway works

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

Holyport residents were left aggrieved after scheduled work on the M4 smart motor-way showered their cars with a large quantity of gritty dust.

On Friday, September 25, neighbours weathered a noisy demolition of the A330 bridge, going on into the night.

“The concrete crushers were going rampant with noise levels well beyond reason,” said Colin Brown, who lives in Argyth Park, close to the M4. “To add to our sleepless night our cars were thickly covered in grit dust when daylight arrived.”

The dust continued to gather throughout the next day. Though residents were warned of the work and the inevitable noise pollution caused by it, neither Highways England nor contractors Balfour Beatty mentioned the amount of dust that might settle.

In a letter to Theresa May, Andrew Cormie of the Holyport Residents Association wrote that those responsible seemed to have given ‘no thought’ to the effects of the dust. The letter suggested pressing the contractors to arrange for a ‘careful cleaning’ of those cars affected.

Theresa May responded to say that she had spoken to the Department for Transport and Highways England to look into the matter.

“Sadly this is not the first occasion that I have had to raise concerns from the local community on problems arising from this work on the M4,” she said. “I know this is an important issue for the local community so I will continue to monitor the situation closely and press those responsible on matters affecting local people.”

The noise from the work could be heard by residents living half a mile away – including Bray Tory councillor David Coppinger.

“It was a very difficult week for all the residents and I feel unbelievably sorry for them – they thought they were buying a house in a nice quiet area,” he said. “But the good news is the work is over and the rain will have washed the dust away.”

Residents also raised concerns about asbestos in the structure and felt they should have received a clearance certificate. Highways England confirmed that no high-risk asbestos was found.

A spokesperson for Highways England and Balfour said: “Living next to a busy construction site is never easy. We try our best to be a good neighbour and thank the residents near Aysgarth Park for bearing with us while we complete this vital upgrade of the M4.

“During the demolition, conditions were dry and it was quite windy, but specialist water misting equipment was used to reduce dust.

“However, we apologise for any impact our work has had on our nearby residents and businesses and will work to minimise disruption to the local community.”

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