Gardens & wildlife

Veolia 2009-Noise Diary

 NOISE DIARY [28th June - 14th July 2009]

From residential property to the south of MRF and WTS (50M to 200M away from the installations respectively.

Sun 28th June



10.36 WTS: tipping (door 2 open) Annoyance, especially as Weekend operation
Mon 29th June 10.40 13.20 Very heavy use of WTS and MRF. A lot of tipping Annoyance
  11.12 11.15 Door of MRF left half open Annoyance
  12.18   Beeping from reversing siren of large open top truck Annoyance
  12.43   Tipping within WTS with door 3 open Annoyance
  12.53   Tipping (involving glass) within WTS. Disruptive even though door is closed. Annoyance
  13.04 13.10 More glass tipped. Prolonged banging and rumbling. Glad to stop gardening and go into the house, keeping rear windows closed. Annoyed to have to do so.
  16.25 16.30 Rumbling, tipping, banging from WTS caused disturbance although I was in my south-facing living room with all windows on the north side of the house shut
Wed 1st July 11.55 11.59 Tipping within the WTS with door 3 open Annoyance
Thu 2nd July 15.05   Prolonged beeping from reversing sirens as Yull & Dod SWT lorry reverses clockwise round WTS Annoyance
Wed 8th July 11.55 11.59 Tipping within WTS with door 1 open. Reversing sitens. 3-vehicle queue outside MRF for long period with engine noise. Annoyance. Unpleasant to remain in my rear garden.
  15.30 15.35 Rumbling and banging from WTS Trying to listen to radio programme in my nort-facing kitchen. Unwelcome background of unpleasant industrial noise even with windows shut.
Thu 9th July 9.15 9.35 Rumbling from WTS Spoilt enjoyment of radio programme
  10.13 10.15 Smell of rubbish (probably carried by the wind) in air outside: tolerable and isolated occasion during this diary. Two lots of tipping in quick succession from WTS involving glass  A very bad day absolutely confirming that the level of noise associated with the permitted operation of the WTS has drastically reduced the quality of my recreation in my own home and garden. This does not rest on violations of operating rules. The doors of the WTS do not reduce the noise significantly. The buildings rumble.
  10.30   More glass tipping while door 3  in the process of shutting. More rumbling. Annoyance
  10.55   Tipping within WTS with door 3 open. Annoyance
  11.07   Tipping within the WTS with door 2 open Annoyance
  11.12   Heavy rumbling Annoyance
  11.20   Tipping within the MRF with doors open  
  11.33   Very noisy tipping (glass) with door 2 of WTS open  
  11.40   Heavy rumbling from WTS  
  11.42   More glass tipping within WTS Great annoyance as so much disturbance in a single morning. This is the fourth summer I have harvested tomatoes in my garden. It is a recreation I used to enjoy.
Mon 13th July     Much less intensive use A much quieter day. Able to enjoy gardening. Thank you.
Tue 14th July  11.20   Reversing sirens, engine noise and  banging Annoyance
  14.45   Glass tipping To reduce disturbance, I closed rear bathroom window which I opened for ventilation. Closing the bathroom door does not shut it out.
  16.25   A lot of rumbling from WTS Annoyance: rear windows have to remain closed.

Although I have recorded breaches of operating conditions, the noise nuisance is the product of authorised operation.

The noise of tipping is not greatly reduced by doors being correctly closed.

The WTS/MRF sheds bang and rumble. Although my property is several times nearer geographically to the MRF, the main nuisance source is without any doubt the noise from the WTS.

Smell has not proved enough of an issue to complain about during the period of these records (1 windy day with poor air quality including the smell of rubbish).

Noise is a factor of the WTS and MRF being in normal operation.

There is marked variation from day to day on how intensively the WTS and MRF are being used. There are ‘quiet’ days when the facilities are ‘tolerable neighbours’ and days when it is unpleasant to use my rear garden and when I am frequently disturbed even on the south side of my home with all the north-facing (rear / double-glazed) windows of my home shut.

Engine noise and reversing sirens become especially irritable when the MRF and WTS are being intensively used.

Nuisance is experienced when lorries, which halt at the one-armed barrier at the entrance, need engine power to set themselves in motion again. Every time a vehicle sets itself in motion to go to the southern perimeter (door 14) of the MRF, the shunt of its acceleration is very audible.

Very heavy vehicles bound for the WTS, set themselves in motion in the same way. They then stop and reverse into door 2 or 3 of the WTS. Not only does this multiply the engine noise of the lorries pulling away, but there is the noise of the reversing sirens as well.

The issue of both reversing sirens and the exhaust systems used by lorries was raised with John Collis of Veolia during the Public Meetings concerning the WTS/MRF planning applications. I recall assurances being given.  

The vehicles using the WTS are of several different types and appear to come from so many different places that it is difficult to understand how any standard assurance could be given or what measures could be taken to ensure that all reversing alarms/sirens emit tolerable ‘white noise’ more acceptable to the ear (i.e. what is called ‘broadband sound’ in the industry). If this is already an observed condition, then I would also query why so many of these vehicles are doing so much reversing (e.g. the Yull & Dod SWT lorry which entertained me on 2nd July with a symphony of ‘beeps’ while reversing clockwise around the WTS)

While the WTS has several different doors, It appears that reversing is the standard way to enter the WTS, as if the facility was especially designed to give maximum ‘siren and engine noise’ to local residents.

It does not help that Hollingdean Depot amplifies noise like an ancient auditorium, something which residents living on the north side of Princes Road will confirm. The choice of location for the WTS shows minimum regard to local residents.

Nuisances for residents in Princes Road
Summer 2009
condition 16 relating to door opening is being ignored

The Council's sparse resources for enforcement affords little protection to neighbouring residents in relation to noise, odour and fugitive particles
Tipping within the MRF while doors are still open

Note that: Condition 16 (regarding closure of the doors) was set by Brighton and Hove City when granting planning permission for the WTS & MRF. It is not part of the operating licence for these installations issued and monitored by The Environment Agency. Its observation depends on the resources available to the Council to enforce its planning conditions, of which there are thousands altogether!
Tipping within the MRF while doors are still open

Tipping within the MRF while doors are still open

Proximity of Waste Transfer Station to residential area

See also Noise Nuisance (May 2013) and Odour Diary (1st June to 20th July 2013)

Veolia's Project Director, John Collis, speaking at the Public Meeting at The Downs Infants School on 23rd June 2005.

John Collis: I would like to say that I don't personally know if there's a WTS and MRF next to a school, but I can assure you that there is an Energy Recovery Facility. The issue is invariably transport issues.

[Cries of "No" in disbelief] 

Member of the public: I don't think it's just the road and the traffic that we're talking about.

John Collis: from the point of view of noise, I'm aware that my noise consultant hasn't been able to speak. However, the generation of noise is so slight, it is negigible against the existing background. Unfortunately, the existing background is there. There is nowdays the possibility of having bleepers that can be turned down. Our lorries will be Euro 4 and that will be a much quieter vehicle than most on your roads. And its emissions will be lower as well. 

This page was last updated by Ted on 13-Mar-2023
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