Gas street resident left in the dark

Jennifer Barnett of Newbyres Ave in Gorebridge
Jennifer Barnett of Newbyres Ave in Gorebridge

A woman left behind on a gas-hit Gorebridge street has hit out at environmental health officials for providing her with no updates in three months.

Private homeowner Jennifer Barnett first spoke to the Advertiser in February about her fears at being left on Newbyres Avenue while some of her Melville Housing neighbours were evacuated due to dangerous levels of carbon dioxide (Co2) being discovered.

Newbyres Crescent – situated nearby – was demolished last year after the gas was discovered seeping into properties from old mine workings.

Environmental health officers promised regular updates for residents still living in the street with gas monitors fitted in their homes, however Ms Barnett revealed that she has heard nothing since.

She said: “I phoned environmental health yesterday to have a go and I was told they are having a meeting that day and they are waiting on reports coming in the next few weeks.

“They then put a letter through my door that night.

“The council decided to demolish Newbyres Crescent but Melville aren’t taking that action yet. I think they are wasting their time, I believe we are the next street which will be demolished.

“That’s over ten weeks with no information now, it’s totally unacceptable. They have not been keeping me up to date and I think they are trying to find a shortcut but there is seriously nothing they can do, as there are no gas membranes under the properties here.

“I’m taking migraines frequently, I don’t know if it’s completely stress-related or the gas. I know I’m getting myself up to 90, I just think it’s totally unacceptable that it’s went on this long. We are no further forward than we were in January. I want to know if my house is safe.”

If the gas monitor fitted in her house goes over 2000 Jennifer has to open the windows, if it is over 5000 she has to leave the house immediately.

She said: “The alarm goes off regularly if I have the windows shut so I have to go to sleep with the windows open. When they were doing the initial four week monitoring it went up to 11,000 while we were sleeping.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “A detailed investigation into the carbon dioxide incident at Newbyres Avenue is continuing.

“Midlothian Council issued an update in writing to the private sector properties, including Mrs Barnett, on Tuesday, May 2, and will continue to do so at approximately monthly intervals or more frequently if the situation changes.

“Members of the public can contact Environmental Health on 0131 271 3345 or through the Midlothian Council Contact Centre on 0131 561 5284 if they require updates in the meantime or wish to discuss any concerns they may have.”