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UPDATED: French gas leak causes a stink in Dorset
3:20pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 in News
A gas leak at a factory in France is causing a massive stink across the south of England today.
This unpleasant odour, which was present in Sussex and Kent earlier today, has drifted across to Bournemouth.
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed they’ve received numerous calls reporting the smell of gas from across the Bournemouth conurbation.
“We believe these are related to this massive plume in France. Transco are aware and have taken thousands of calls about it as well,” said the DFRS spokesman.
“If the smell of gas is coming from outside your home, please shut the windows and doors. In all probability it is related to this French chemical escape. Calls need to go through Transco in the first instance, as there is little we can do.”
Parents of pupils at Kinson Primary School were asked to collect their children early this afternoon due to the whiff.
A French newspaper said the leak at the Lubrizol company was caused by a chemical substance becoming unstable, causing gas odors that are similar to those of coal gas.
A statement issued by the Seine-Maritime prefecture said: "The gas has an unpleasant smell but is not toxic".
The concentration of the gas was also "very low" but the prefecture admitted that "a large number of people have been inconvenienced".
The gas reached the Paris region in the early hours of Tuesday.
In the Seine-Maritime region around Rouen emergency services were bombarded with calls from alarmed citizens.
Seine-Maritime security official Laurent Mabire told a French news service that the the emergency services had been bombarded with calls.
The Health Protection Agency said: "The smell drifting over Southern England today poses no risk to public health.
"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."