Noise checks have to be improved at Plymouth incinerator site
NOISE and vibration monitoring at the construction site of the Plymouth incinerator is “woefully inadequate”, says an independent consultant.
Monitoring should be continuous and not for half an hour every fortnight, the consultant, David Trevor-Jones, said in a report commissioned by anti-incinerator activist Lynne Hayden.
Mr Trevor-Jones, said the present regime was “so woefully inadequate as to be of little clear practical use”.
He said MVV Environment Devonport Ltd, which is building the energy from waste plant, should be monitoring construction throughout the permitted working hours, as was common for large construction projects around the country.
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Cllr George Wheeler (Lab, St Budeaux), told yesterday’s meeting of Plymouth City Council planning committee residents had become so frustrated that they had commissioned their own report on the project from Mr Trevor-Jones.
The committee, of which Cllr Wheeler is a member, was told that MVV had been given a warning over eight breaches of noise limits and permitted working hours.
Local residents had complained that contractors working on the site in Devonport Dockyard’s North Yard had made too much noise and worked longer hours than permitted.
After an investigation, Plymouth City Council found that MVV had breached its conditions eight times.
MVV has offered monitoring for half an hour once a week instead of once a fortnight.
Mrs Hayden of the group Plymwin said later that giving MVV 21 days to respond was “a joke”.
“They’ve let MVV get away with it again. It’s driving us to the brink.”
She said that intermittent monitoring of noise and vibration was completely inadequate.
“The council needs to be dealing with what they have done before, not with the next 21 days.
Planning officer Chris Watson told councillors on the planning committee that they had received a response from MVV.
“They are taking steps to ensure compliance,” he said.
The company had said it would step up the frequency of monitoring and install extra acoustic barriers. “We will watch most vigilantly what happens in the coming weeks.”
He said the last reported breach was in November.
“The actions we have taken have been in line with national advice and in accordance with normal procedures.”
MVV publishes details of the excess noise on its website and has sent apologies to residents who may have been affected.
It sent 200 letters to properties in Talbot Gardens, Savage Road and Poole Park Road in November.
MVV said that louder than expected noise was a result of workmen striking concrete and other hard materials.
A pile drilling rig had hit an obstruction on November 28 – the company’s noisiest breach yet – and workers had to place extra acoustic barriers around it.
MVV managing director Paul Carey said pile drilling was due to resume on Monday after a Christmas break and finish by the end of this month.
“We will continue to be extra vigilant in carrying out mitigation work and monitoring,” he said.
“Once piling is over the nature of the noise will change and we hope it will be less problematic.”
But Mrs Hayden said: “Next month they will move on to another kind of noise when the steel work starts.
“From now and until whenever there is just going to be noise there.”
The council granted planning permission for the incinerator on February 3 last year after a controversial December 23, 2011 planning committee meeting.