Noise probe fails to satisfy residents

A ROW over noise and dust which residents claim is caused by a shipping company rumbled on today - despite an investigation failing to uncover any wrongdoing.

A ROW over noise and dust which residents claim is caused by a shipping company rumbled on today - despite an investigation failing to uncover any wrongdoing.

People living near Ipswich port claim that cement dust being washed into the River Orwell by a Southern Cement ship could be harming their health.

Residents also claim they are subjected to noise - sometimes for up to 36 hours at a time - caused by the ship each time it is unloaded.

Peter Evans, a member of NAG (Noise Action Group) was among 100 people at a south west Ipswich area forum at St Francis Church, Hawthorn Drive, where the issue was raised.

He showed images of cement dust blowing in the direction of Piper's Vale and Cliff Lane primary schools.

Mr Evans said: “I'm disappointed that the council has so far not put a stop to this noise pollution which has been going on for at least three years. The cement dust could be harming the health of nearby residents.”

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However, Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) revealed it had received just two complaints from one person about cement dust in the seven years Southern Cement has been operating at the port.

During 2008 an officer investigated Southern Cement but found insufficient evidence that the noise was loud enough for action to be taken.

A council spokesman said: “These matters are extremely complex and not easily resolved. The council needs precise evidence upon which to base decisions and this can be difficult and time-consuming to obtain.”

A Southern Cement spokesman said the company is permitted to discharge cement by the council and is in regular communication with its environmental health officers.

“Up until recently this operation has been ongoing for almost seven years without any apparent problem,” the spokesman said.

“The council did not consider there to be any breach of legislation and has written to local residents informing them of this fact. Southern Cement has been actively investigating ways of minimising perceived noise and we will of course co-operate with IBC should further investigations arise.”