Dusty air caused by constant house building in Milton Keynes could be seriously harming people's health, states leading councillor

He’s calling for an independent probe into the risks of continuously breathing in construction dust
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The constant house-building and construction work that goes on all over the city could be having a seriously adverse effect on residents’ health, a councillor has stated.

In a bombshell motion called ‘Is Milton Keynes killing me?’, Cllr David Hopkins is calling for the council to launch an independent investigation into the health impacts of being exposed to building developments for years at a time.

And he is asking that there be a “planning holiday”, with no new building schemes approved until the risks are known.

Building work is going on constantly in MK - but is it harming our health?Building work is going on constantly in MK - but is it harming our health?
Building work is going on constantly in MK - but is it harming our health?

He says the national Health and Safety Executive states that construction dust released into the environment is a “significant concern” for both the workers and people who live near the site.

This is especially true for anyone that is vulnerable to breathing problems such as people with asthma, silicosis or COPD, he says.

“Construction dust contains harmful particles, so keeping it from being released into the air is a crucial component of public health. When breathed in over time (and that is the crucial point here), dust can impact your lung health. Crystalline silica can be especially dangerous and can cause life-threatening damage to your lungs.”

The Tory councillor lives near Wavendon, which has grown from 320 to 3,300 dwellings over the past decade. And there are 4,000 more scheduled nearby under the South East Milton Keynes urban expansion.

Cllr David Hopkins believes construction dust could be harming people's health in Milton KeynesCllr David Hopkins believes construction dust could be harming people's health in Milton Keynes
Cllr David Hopkins believes construction dust could be harming people's health in Milton Keynes

Similarly Woburn Sands has seen a 50% increase in its housing stock, while Newport Pagnell is to have a total of almost 2,000 new homes built around it.

Cllr Hopkins is due to present his motion to full council tonight (Wednesday).

He says: "Many residents, especially those living in or close to one of the many urban expansion areas of MK, have frequently commented to me regarding the levels of dust on cars, or the amount of dust that has landed on washing left out to air and dry.

"We tend to laugh it off or dismiss it as being a necessary evil and consequence of living and working in Milton Keynes, an area that has seen non-stop development for nearly sixty years. But are we right so to do?”

In his 30 years as a school governor, the councillor says he has also observed, with increasing concern, the growing levels of dirt and dust in and around local schools.

He said all city councillors have a duty of care to ensure the health and wellbeing of MK people.

His ‘Is Milton Keynes killing me’ motion is calling for an independent report to be commissioned via specialist experts into the impacts of construction dust, in particular on local residents often left to endure many years of continual housing and warehousing developments.

He said: ‘My motion to council should not be considered in any way contentious. It simply asks an important question, suggests a way forward and indicates that consideration be given to the impacts of construction on all those who have endured the burden of development over a considerable period of time, by offering what in effect would be a planning holiday and thus enable (if you excuse the pun) ‘the dust to settle’ and communities to become established in a healthy, clean and relatively pollution free environment.”