BUCKS fire stations have received calls about an unpleasant smell of gas which has been spreading over southern England.

According to the Health Protection Agency, the rotten egg-like odour has come from a chemical leaked from a factory in France.

A statement issued today says: “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 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."

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service received three 999 calls between 12.47pm and 1.22pm today from residents in Aylesbury, Wendover and Carrington Road in High Wycombe.

Fire crews also issued this advice:

If you have a gas leak at your property, call the National Gas Emergency Service free on 0800 111 999. Don't create a flame or operate electrical switches. Do put out flames, open doors and windows, keep people away from the area and turn the gas off at the control valve.