Smelly French gas cloud hits UK

A foul-smelling but harmless cloud of gas which has wafted over the south of the UK from a chemical factory in France has prompted calls to emergency services. The gas mercaptan was accidentally released from a factory in the northern city of Rouen.

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French gas cloud smelled in Bournemouth

The gas cloud from France made of a stenching agent, which is added to natural gas so that it can be smelled in the event of a gas leak, has now spread across the south of the country reaching as far west as Dorset:

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Can you smell gas? Believed to be from release of gas stenching agent blown over channel from #France. Not dangerous. Transco investigating.

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Looks like #France #gas smell ranges from Chesil beach to Bournemouth. It's not harmful, but please contact Transco if you want advice

French gas cloud reaches Dorset

Dorset Police have confirmed that they have received several calls believed to be connected to the leak of Mercaptan gas in France:

Emergency services and gas agencies have received many calls from members of the public today reporting the smell of gas. This appears to be strongest across the coastal towns of Dorset and other southern counties.

The smell may be linked to a large release of gas stenching agent (Mercaptan) in France which appears to have crossed the channel on strong easterly winds.

Transco is investigating and has received a number of similar calls. Although emergency services such as the fire and rescue services in affected areas will assess all gas-smell-related calls coming into their respective control rooms in case they are not linked, Transco are leading on this event.

– Dorset Police statement

London Fire Brigade receives 42 calls about gas cloud

London Fire Brigade received 42 calls about the foul-smelling but harmless cloud of gas from Frnace than has wafted over parts of the south east - and announced it on Twitter in the style of Allo Allo character Officer Crabtree:

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Listen carefully I shall say zis in only 140 characters; we attended 42 calls today due to the French gas cloud over London #alloallo

Over 20 reports of gas smell in Hampshire

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said it had received more than 20 calls about the smell, mostly in the Portsmouth area, with reports that it had been noticed as far north as Basingstoke and Andover and as far west as Ringwood.

Group manager Tony Deacon said:

Our control room has dealt with a number of calls reporting the unpleasant gas smell.

We want to reassure the public that the gas presents no threat to health and is completely harmless.

We would also like to remind the public that if they suspect they are dealing with a genuine gas emergency in their home or building, they should call the National Gas Emergency Number on 0800 111999.

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Twitter users comment on French gas cloud

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Was wondering why I can smell gas when we don't have a gas supply here. So the French have sent it over!? Well it's giving me a headache...

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Smell of gas in #HaywardsHeath today, apparently originating from a gas leak in France

Police respond to calls over foul-smelling gas

Police forces have been responding to calls from concerned residents after they smelt a foul-smelling gas in the south east.

A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "South Kent residents are being asked to keep doors and windows closed due to a gas cloud that is believed to have come across from France, following reports of a gas leak from a factory 75 miles west of Paris."

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police tweeted that the gas did not pose a risk to the public:

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We are aware of reports of a strong noxious gas like smell in some South East London boroughs - no risks to public

The French source of foul-smelling gas cloud over UK

This factory in the northern French city of Rouen is the source of a foul-smelling gas leak, which has been detected in the south-east of the UK.

A cloud of Mercaptan gas, which is added to municipal gas to alert people to gas leaks, accidentally leaked from the factory and drifted across the channel, prompting dozens of calls to the emergency services.

The French factory, which is understood to be the source of the gas leak. Credit: EBU
Emergency services in the UK have received calls from members of the public who smelt the odour. Credit: EBU
The gas, which has been smelt in the south-east is not harmful. Credit: EBU

Foul-smelling gas prompts emergency calls

A foul-smelling cloud of gas which wafted over to parts of the south east from a chemical factory in France has prompted calls to emergency services.

The gas mercaptan was accidentally released from a factory in the northern city of Rouen travelled across the English Channel early this morning.

People in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and parts of London reported the unpleasant aroma but emergency services said the gas is harmless and presents no danger to the public.

Sussex Police said they had received more than 25 calls by 9.15am, neighbouring Surrey had 15 calls by 11.30am, and Kent Police reportedly had a large number of calls.

Mercaptan is added to municipal gas to alert people to gas leaks, among other uses.

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