29 October 2010

Pipeline Noise is back again

There is bad news for residents of Harbour and Trevelyan Roads in Seaton.  Pipeline noise will be 24/7 after all.

At the Tesco planning meeting on 21 September the committee papers included a recommendation from EDDC Environmental Health officers that the pipeline should be insulated against noise, and the hours of operation restricted to exclude the hours between 11pm and 7 am.  As I remember the discussion, this restriction was agreed, yet the Decision Notice makes no mention of it.  

I asked EDDC if the discussion was minuted, but it is not: they record only decisions taken, and this record makes no mention of any time restriction.  I did not take detailed notes myself, so I cannot be sure that my recollection is accurate.   I have written to the Committee Chairman, Paul Diviani, but he hears so many cases I should be surprised if he remembers anything at all.

So, what lies in store for Seaton residents near the pipe ?  The Decision Notice paragraph 6 is as follows:

The pipeline shall be enclosed at all places where noise generated during the movement of material within it is likely to be clearly audible at the facade of nearby residential properties. Prior to the commencement of filling operations the noise levels (during the day and at night time) at the facade of those properties namely nos. 1-8 Trevelyan Road, Bay View, 66 & 68 Harbour Road,113-115 Harbour Road and Bridge Cottage shall be submitted to and agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. The filling operation shall not exceed the noise levels so agreed. (Reason - To protect the amenities of local residents.) 

This seems to mean that the pipeline cannot make more noise than the residents experience at any time of the day, or night.  But it also means that daytime noise levels can occur at any hour, including the middle of the night.

The other aspect is enforcement.  What happens if noise levels are higher ?  How will we know?  Will we have to measure noise levels at 2 am before complaining to Environmental Health? And what will they do about it ?  Do they have a ship-to-shore link to the dredger out in the bay so that they can tell them to stop the discharge?

I advise the residents referred to above to get together with Janet Wallace of the EDDC EHO team to discuss and agree these procedures well before discharge starts in the New Year.

Incidently, those of you with iPhones, there are several applications to measure noise levels.

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