A ‘STRANGE’ red dust which has covered homes and cars in Bacup has been confirmed as non-toxic by public health experts.

Residents of Windermere Road, and surrounding areas off Todmorden Road, are angry that nothing has been done about the substance, which has been coating their walls and gardens for more than a year.

Neighbours believed the particles, which turn bright yellow when touched, may have been emerged from a nearby mine and sent several complaints to the borough council.

But after carrying out tests on the samples of the substance, the Coal Authority and Rossendale Council has disproved that theory, saying analysis of the dust has shown it is a form of algae.

Council environmental health officers say they have consulted with experts from Public Health England, who assured them that the ‘algae growth’ does not pose any risk to health.

Sandra Navesey, 72, of Windermere Road, speaking on behalf of around 30 protesters, said: “We’ve had no idea what the dust is.

"Most of us are retired in this area and no-one has ever seen such a strange substance before.

“It doesn’t seem like algae. It’s red to look at, but when it’s touched, or if it rain, it turns bright yellow.

“Dogs have been going out for walks and coming home with their paws and mouths covered in the red substance.

“It’s highly concerning. Having looked at the red liquid in the mine near Northern Primary School, it looks like it could be the same substance.”

A Rossendale Council spokesman said: “Officers of the council have investigated this matter thoroughly and can confirm that the staining is due to an algae growth.

“Officers consulted with Public Health England who confirmed that the algae did not pose any risk to health.

“As the algae has no public health significance the environmental health department have no plans to investigate further.

“The residents have been informed of these facts directly, and via their MP, and have been advised on how to treat the algae.”