23rd March 2015
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Noise Complaints- Dock related
I am writing to provide an update regarding actions taken by this Department in relation to recent noise complaints made to the Council by local residents.
A number of out of hours monitoring visits have been undertaken recently, which, along with the use of noise recording equipment have identified various noise problems resulting from plant, vehicles and handling operations on the port. These matters have been raised directly with Peel Ports and appropriate contractors which have resulted in a number of improvements being made. Detailed below are a summary of my recent actions/investigations.
Complaints received regarding loud engine or thumping noises have been identified as generators running to power the Independent Pursuit container vessel when she berths at the docks. In addition to agreeing changes about berthing location and the way she faces when berthed (so that the generator exhausts face out to sea), they will now keep the number of generators running while in port to the minimum necessary to supply power for the ship, which should further reduce noise levels. I have explored with Peel Ports about hooking her up to shore power for the duration of her turnaround but this is not yet practical.
I have continued to speak to EMR about their operations and timings, particularly about their crane handling of scrap and the noise created by the heavier grades of scrap. Details of other complaints have been passed to Norton’s about the operation of their mill and ship loading. These have also been discussed with the Environment Agency who issue the permit for these operators.
The L2 or Seaforth Triangle works are still continuing and I am having frequent meetings with the contractors and Peel Ports. The amount of piling work undertaken each day has been reduced now that the halfway point has been achieved. Unfortunately the Council cannot prevent the piling operations from being undertaken, however we are working with the contractors and port tenants to ensure they are employing best practicable means to minimise any noise caused by their operations. The percussive piling works can be distinctly audible during the day depending on meteorological conditions. From my own visits and using the monitoring kit, the overnight works they have been doing has not been excessively loud, however given the complaints about the night time noise I will of course continue to undertake night visits. Infilling of the new Seaforth Triangle has started by pumping a water-sand mix from a dredger that anchors in the River Mersey.
There are other extensive construction works taking place across the docks, with demolition of warehousing at Hornby and Alexandra Docks; construction works at the steel berth at Gladstone (which included piling equipment), various works along the railway lines, breaking up of concrete slabs at Langton Dock and the continuing works to the ‘Autogate’ and road layout to improve the access into the Royal Seaforth container area. I have recently commented on proposals for an acoustic barrier to be fitted along the edge of the haul road, near to Cambridge Road which has been referred back to Peel Ports. I understand that sections of the haul road which are currently in a poor condition are to be resurfaced once the ‘Autogate’ works are completed, which should reduce the impact noises of the HGV’s bouncing on the poor road surface.
The pinch point works by the Highways Agency on the Princes Way roundabout have been taking place day and night, but are due to finished by the end of March 2015. My colleagues and I have also met with contractors working on some of the other roads, water mains, railways and warehouses in the Bootle and Waterloo areas, particularly about any of their planned works that are likely to be noisy.
Please contact me if you have any queries regarding this letter. In order to assist with these investigations, please continue to email or return log sheets to me as these allow me to visit specific areas and offer noise recording equipment. If I do not hear from you over the next four weeks I will close off your specific service request, but I will be continuing to investigate issues surrounding the docks and to seek those improvements with the legislation available to this Department.