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Sacré bleurrgh! French leak causes stench in Sussex
A gas leak at a factory in France has caused a massive stink in Sussex.
Already Sussex Police have received 20 calls about the smell which is unpleasant and present in Sussex – particularly East Sussex – and Kent.
We were alerted to the stench by comments on Twitter.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Shortly after 7.30am on Tuesday we began to receive calls from members of the public along the East Sussex coast reporting a smell of gas. Kent Police have also received a larger number of calls.
“We understand that this smell emanates from an accidental factory discharge in Rouen, more than 60 miles west of Paris. East Sussex Fire and Rescue have confirmed that the smell is from an additive to the gas. It has an unpleasant smell but is not toxic and there is no danger to the public.”
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. 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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