Gas smelling of rotten egg triggers school evacuationBy Becky Barnes
January 22, 2013
Gas smelling of rotten egg means schools are taking precautions after a suspected gas leak from northern France.
Children at Uplands Primary School, Albion Road, Sandhurst, were ushered to Sandhurst Community Centre, Yorktown Road, at around 1.30pm, as a precaution after the smell of gas spread through classrooms.
Thames Valley Police confirmed they have received a number of calls from concerned members of the public about the strong smell of gas affecting the South-East but reassured the offensive smelling gas is harmless.
Pupils at Edgbarrow School, Grant Road, Crowthorne, have been kept inside since lunchtime as a precaution.
A message on the school's website said: "We understand that there is a gas cloud currently drifting across the area following a gas leak in France in the early hours of the morning.
"This has resulted in a strong smell of gas, but we have been advised by the emergency services that it is not hazardous.
"Because of the smell, we are keeping students indoors over the lunchtime period and into Period Five.
"Arrangements have been made for them to buy food from the restaurant if they want to, and for them to eat their lunch indoors.
"Students will be released from Period Five at 3.20pm as normal."
Southern Gas Networks reported receiving high volumes of calls regarding the gas cloud.
In a statement the company said: "The cause of this 'cloud' is suspected to be a leak from a chemical plant in northern France. The smell of the gas is reported to be 'Mercaptan' and is no danger to the public.
"The smell from the cloud is a distinctive diesel/oily smell, different from the smell of natural gas used in the home.
"However, if you can smell natural gas (the smell of gas that comes out of your cooker) then please contact the National Gas Emergency Number on 0800 111 999.
"For any other unrelated enquiries our customer service number is 0845 070 1431."
|A statement from 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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