MEP: Birling Gap haze report ‘doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know’

Green MEP Keith Taylor
Green MEP Keith Taylor
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A Green MEP has criticised the official report into the chemical haze which descended on Birling Gap last summer.

The government released a report last week into the major incident which was declared when between 150-200 people rushed to the DGH with symptoms such as burning eyes, nausea, and difficulty breathing after a strange mist appeared in the area on August 27.

The report by DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) concluded the most likely cause of the incident was from a ship or its cargo in the Channel, and said it was not possible to identify what exactly the gas was.

Keith Taylor MEP, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, has said this is not good enough.

He said, “Defra’s frustrating report doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know; we still don’t have any real answers on what the gas was or from where it came.

“Educated guesses are useful to a point but they don’t help deliver justice for the hundreds of residents and holidaymakers hospitalised when all they wanted to do was spend a nice relaxing day at the beach.

“It is hard to escape the feeling the Government has consistently shrugged its shoulders in response to this incident when it should be laser-focused on finding and holding to account those responsible.

“At the very least, the Government should be able to offer residents an assurance that this won’t happen again (as it did in Seaford, just a month after Birling Gap), but, with no firm answers, it’s clear that it can’t.

“On behalf of the health and well-being of my constituents, and with the help of the EU institutions, I will continue my pursuit of answers and assurances. I don’t give up as easily as the Government seemingly has.”