MONMOUTH health campaigner and GP Dr Dick van Steenis has died aged 78.

The father of two died on April 7 following a short illness.

Dr van Steenis became one of the UK’s leading authorities into the health effects of environmental pollution, and as an expert witness in more than 40 public inquiries helped prevent the installation of 24 incinerators, and opencast mines.

He first became involved in campaining in 1994 when he was asked to look at the possible health effects of pollution from power stations in South Wales.

Since then the grandfather of four sought newstandards to reduce industrial pollution and was very concerned that current environmental standards did not focus on the really tiny particles.

In April 2011 he appeared in the Argus when he spoke at a meeting of Stop Newport Incinerator Campaign, which fought proposals to build an incinerator on land near Llanwern Steelworks.

Later the same year he was featured again when he donated his bike to Newport man Adam Needs, whose bike was stolen when he moved house.

Mr Needs has a heart condition and used his bike to keep fit. Mr van Steenis read about his plight in the Argus and generously stepped forward to help.

His son, Huw, described him as a “thorn in the side of big business”, and said he fought against lots of major polluters, with many notable wins in Australia and all over the UK.

He said his father was “never happier” than when helping the underdog, and still travelled up and down the country and overseas to speak at public meetings well into his seventies.

Dr van Steenis leaves his widow, Christine, and children, Huw and Ruth.

A service to give thanks for his life will be held at 1.30pm on Thursday at Wyesham Christian Fellowship Centre in Monmouth. His family have set up a donation page in his memory for International Needs, a development agency of which Dr van Steenis was a trustee and active supporter for many years. Visit justgivi n g . c o m / DrDickvanSteenis