Kent's Bad Smell

Large parts of Kent are being affected by a strong, suphur-like smell this morning, and it is thanks to a non-harmful leak at a factory in northern France.

It happened on Monday at the plant in Rouen, about 75miles west of Paris, and was first wafted south by the winds, before being blown across the Channel to us.

The police, fire service and gas companies say they have received dozens of calls from worries Kent residents about the smell this morning.

You have also been tweeting and emailing us to say which parts of Kent it has reached. The smell has been picked up in places including Ashford, Dover, Folkestone, Maidstone Lydd, New Romney and Tunbridge Wells.

Officials at the Lubrizol France factory say the smell comes from a non-toxic additive which gives an odour to natural gas, so there is no danger to the public. There have been reports of people who live near the factory suffering migranes and nausea.

Engineers say they are working to plug the leak and hope to have it fixed by the end of day.

In the meantime, Kent firefighters are advising you to keep your doors and windows closed.

This is the latest from the Health Protection Agency

The smell drifting over Southern England today poses no risk to public health. The odour, which is similar to rotten eggs, has been noticed by people mainly in Kent, East and West Sussex and some parts of Surrey.

 It is caused by a particularly smelly chemical that is added to odourless natural gas to give that its characteristic smell.

 The chemical leaked from a factory in Rouen, France yesterday and has blown across the Channel overnight. It is not toxic and has also been diluted before entering the air over England, so people should be reassured it will cause no harm. It is an unpleasant odour which may cause some people to feel slightly nauseous but it will dispel naturally.

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