Lewes councillors are expected to request further monitoring of sound and dust levels in Newhaven in response to a petition from more than 900 residents.
On Thursday (March 21), Lewes District Council’s scrutiny committee considered a petition calling for action to reduce night time noise and dust pollution from a scrap boat business, which operates on the East Quay in Newhaven Port.
The committee heard how residents had raised a number of noise and pollution complaints about the operation over the last ten years, but investigations had not previously shown ‘unreasonable use’ given its position within a 24-hour working port.
But the committee felt it may be time to reassess the levels of noise and dust given the increase of housing within the town. Cllr Nigel Enever (Con. – Peacehaven East) said: “I am very aware of this pile of metal and the noise it makes.
“I do wonder if things have perhaps got worse in the last few years, from the point of view that new flats were built on the west side.
“There are probably a lot more residential properties on the west side than there were previously so that is possibly why this has become more of an issue.”
As part of the terms of its environmental permit, officers said, the operator is carrying out noise monitoring and taking measures to reduce the sound from loading scrap on to boats.
Officers said the operator has also told the council it will make an effort to have fewer ship movements during the summer in an attempt to reduce disruption at times residents are likely to have their windows open.
But, as a long-established working port, the committee also heard there are no limits to what times the business could operate at.
Cllr Julian Peterson (Con. – Seaford East) said: “It is like a story of people moving to the country and complaining about the smell of manure.
“If you are going to live next to a working port there will obviously be noise.
“Although one has sympathy about the noise, there is noise if you live next to railway tracks, there is noise from airports. There is noise all around us as part of our developed world.
“We need industry and industry develops noise.”
The committee also heard how the Environment Agency, which is responsible for monitoring air quality in the area, had previously found dust pollution to be within acceptable levels after several months of tests.
Following discussion, the committee agreed to ask the Environment Agency to conduct fresh air quality tests at areas previously tested and new tests at areas with planning permission for housing.
The committee also asked for further noise monitoring at the same time and agreed to approach the business to ask what further noise mitigation it may be willing to introduce.