As highlighted in last week’s Observer the problem of potentially harmful smoke coming from Bexhill High Academy chimney stacks has been solved.
GMB is claiming victory having brought the issue to light and having heard from “numerous” local residents worried about potential risk.
Several contacted the Observer to say action must be taken to protect students and employees but also neighbours and children at the nearby primary school.
Complaints were made about the biomass boiler which burns wood chips and emits smoke which occasionally swirled around the area.
GMB, the union for school support staff, has welcomed news the school is to rebuild faulty chimney stacks that have been allowing smoke to also re-enter the school building .
Rachel Verdin, GMB organiser, said, “This will ensure that the health and safety of everyone working and learning at the school is put first as staff and pupils have been suffering the effects of the bio-mass boiler emissions since the school opened in 2010.
“Neighbours reported being unable to let their children play in the garden for fear the fumes would aggravate their asthma.
Prospects academy Trust is now tendering to have the chimney stacks redesigned and replaced with a new extended height by the summer of 2014.
“Prospects was not originally at fault, but with the ‘duty of care’ under the Health and Safety at Work act 1974 they have the responsibility to sort out the problem.
“An invitation was made to ESCC and Kiers who originally commissioned and built the school to attend the last grievance meeting but they refused to accept the invitation.
“It has been a three year struggle to get to this point and hopefully with the redesigned chimney stacks this will be the last of this particular matter and Bexhill High’s pupil, staff and neighbours will be able to breathe again.”
Bexhill High’s interim principal Andy Mortimer commented this week: “Prospects Academies Trust has invited costed proposals from specialist contractors to remedy the problem of biomass fumes failing to clear the building and grounds during certain weather conditions.
“These proposals are expected soon, the Trust will then decide on the way forward and issue an internal newsletter briefing everyone on the next steps.”