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The truth about the level of disturbance to residents [10 of 11] Some readers of The Argus (3rd January 2013) New technology to eliminate waste stations' stink may still be under the mistaken impression that that the problem of odour nuisance at Hollingdean Depot was solved once and for all in January 2013 in the context of a plan to use Ultra Violet rays to zap the odour particles.
The printed version of this report carried the headline: SAYING GOODBYE TO STATION'S STINK. The odour nuisances which have been suffered by residents living near Hollingdean Depot in summer 2013 suggest that we are in for a long "goodbye".
I learnt on 15th July 2013 that The Environment Agency considers the UV technology dangerous to use where there are people around, and has never allowed Veolia to use it.
Odour nuisances continue in hot weather
I also know very well that between 1st June 2013 and now, Princes Road residents have suffered objectionable odour which has marred their enjoyment of their gardens during a prolonged period of hot weather.
Both the general public and the people who will determine the outcome of Veolia's application need to be correctly informed. But Veolia's game is to misinform.
The myth of "no noise nuisance since 2010" In relation to industrial noise, Veolia is trying to make a case that it won't make much difference to us if they operated 24/7 because the nuisances are not a significant problem to local residents. The evidence they quote in in their supporting document is:
"Whilst there were some noise complaints shortly after the facility opened there have been no recorded incidents since 2010."
A key part of a campaign opposing Application BH2013/02219 must be to refute Veolia's misinformation or the picture they are trying to paint of "neighbours not bothered by their operation".
Campaigning to counter misinformation It would be easy enough for a few campaigners to collect evidence from every resident in Princes Road (perhaps some in Mayo Road and parts of Richmond Road too) on whether they have been bothered by Veolia's industrial noise within the last three years. If The Council's Environmental Health Officer is unwilling to record our complaints about unreasonable noise from the Dump (without making us compile 7-day diaries and produce detailed descriptions of nuisances we are sick of), then perhaps we should petition Hollingdean Depot's immediate neighbours ourselves and make our own records of the nuisances Veolia has been creating. It would be sufficient to limit the data to the last three months (if memories are short). We could present this evidence directly to members of the planning committee.
It should then become apparent that residents are not complaining to The Council's Environmental Health Department (about noise nuisance) and to The Environment Agency (about odour escapes) because they have no confidence that any effective action will be taken.
We all know that Hollingdean Depot is in the wrong place. Cllr Pete West conceeds that it should never have been built. We all know that recyclables and black bag domestic waste need to leave our homes and be taken somewhere.
But if the people who decide the Dump's operating hours remain under the impression that we are happy with the levels of odour and industrial noise and The Argus (prompted by Veolia) informs the general public that all is well, the meagre concessions (gained in 2006 by over 2,000 objectors) limiting operation of the WTS & MRF tp 12-hour days and essentially Mondays to Fridays, will be lost in 2013.
It would be a pity to be sidetracked by any other issues than the need for the protections we are trying to defend in fighting Veolia's current application. However, a related injustice worth highlighting would be the complaint-led procedures being used to monitor noise & odour nuisances. The nuisance monitoring should be done independently and not by the victims of the pollution.
Why are there few recorded complaints?
Complaints are likely to remain few while residents know
(1) they will be required to jump through several hoops before complaints are recorded i.e. to keep a diary over two weeks and assemble the necessary paperwork for a private action to abate a noise nuisance in a Magistrates Court (which could leave them with legal costs to pay if unsuccessful).
(2) complaints cannot be acted upon anyway, because the generic problem (which won't go away until it is acted on) is the unsuitable location of the dump.
NEXT 11 of 11: Private action to abate a noise nuisance - procedures which discourage residents from complaining