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Complaints flood in over noise from offshore wind farm work  

Credit:  by Dave Robson, Evening Gazette. www.gazettelive.co.uk 8 February 2012 ~~

A constant banging noise from work to build Redcar’s offshore wind farm gave locals a right ear-bashing.

The noisy pounding went on from mid-afternoon on Monday and didn’t stop until after 9pm the same day, prompting a flood of complaints from residents.

It was all quiet yesterday, but locals were still shell-shocked from the din the day before.

Now the firm behind the wind farm, EDF Energy, has apologised and pledged to try to pipe down when it can.

Shocked locals contacted the Gazette after hours blighted by the racket.

Some complained it was much louder than they ever imagined the wind farm work would produce, while others told of trying to get children to sleep as the noise shook their homes.

One Redcar resident said: “I was taking my dog for a walk on the beach and as I was walking through the town centre I heard the banging sound.

“By the time I got to the beach, it was extremely loud and there was a distinct echo.

“It was an incessant banging noise. For anyone living near the sea front, it must be making their life hell.”

Newcomen ward councillor Chris Abbott said: “One resident described it as sounding like someone was standing in their back garden, banging a drum continuously.”

Neil Short, a 40-year-old depot sales manager of Coatham Road, said: “The noise echoed through the house. I’d been at work since 4.30am so to come home to listen to that wasn’t good.”

And while Shelly Parker, 34 of Queen Street, backed the wind farm scheme, she urged EDF: “If you are going to make that level of noise, at least make it during the day.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy Renewables apologised for any inconvenience and said they were working hard to minimise any disturbance.

But he added: “Unfortunately it is impossible to undertake seabed piling work of this nature without generating some noise.

“We are working within formal noise limits set by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and these are being continuously monitored to ensure we remain compliant.

However, wind speed and direction is likely to have the greatest impact on noise levels reaching the shore.

“To help minimise any potential longer term disruption, our objective is to reduce the piling installation period and to begin work nearest the shore, gradually working out to sea. This may require some occasional night time piling work, depending on the progress made.”

Councillor Helen McLuckie, Redcar and Cleveland cabinet member for highways, transportation and planning, said: “The council gave permission for the on-shore aspects of this project in 2008, but has no power when it comes to consents for off-shore activity.

“However, there are conditions set out by the Secretary of State surrounding noise from the construction work which the council can monitor. We have been made aware of residents’ concerns about this issue over the past couple of days and will take action if necessary.”

Councillor Steve Goldswain, cabinet member for community protection, said noise checks would be made, adding the council “will not hesitate to take enforcement action” if noise limits are breached.

Source:  by Dave Robson, Evening Gazette. www.gazettelive.co.uk 8 February 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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