Debate over whether the metallic dust in Tilbury has an impact on the health of residents could soon be put to the test after a campaigner announced he has secured funding for a series of independent examinations.

Allen Mayes, chairman of Thurrock Independents, said funds amounting to around £2,200 are being donated by the Peterborough-based Apex Platinum Investment Ltd.

The money will go towards tests to be completed by the MLM Group, a privately-owned engineering, environment and building control consultancy company.

It is hoped that the results will provide evidence that shows whether the dust is causing health issues for the residents who may be inhaling it.

Tilbury residents have been campaigning for tests for several months and even presented a petition to the council signed by almost 800 people. However, little progress has been made which has left many concerned that they could face respiratory illnesses.

Health authorities and the council had claimed that the dust is a “nuisance” and not a health hazard but investigations by Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed that tests have not been undertaken and the authorities do not know if the advice they have given is accurate.

Mr Mayes said: “I am delighted that we have secured the funding for the independent dust test due to a generous full cost donation from Apex Platinum Investment Ltd.

“This now means that we can get answers on what is in the dust itself so we can go back to the relevant authorities and demand action is taken immediately.

“This issue has been going on for too long and the current elected representatives of the area have contributed very little to the cause.

“This has been a long process with lots of people previously involved, however since November last year this issue has been pushed and pushed by residents and myself.

“We have successfully made the council listen and take this seriously, along with the Environmental Agency. I would like to thank all the residents that have been involved in fighting for this, signing the petition and asking questions at the council meeting.”

He added that the tests are expected to take place during June and July “to catch the issue at its worst” while the weather is warm and dry.

Mr Mayes will be running as a candidate for the Thurrock Independents in the Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park ward where Labour Councillor Clare Baldwin is hoping for re-election and Daryl Palmer will be running for the Conservative Party.