Specialists challenge 'severely flawed' noise reports as FP McCann try to push £2 million concrete plant expansion plans through

A noise report submitted as part of FP McCann's plans to expand their Littleport factory has been heavily criticised. PHOTO: Harry Rutter

A noise report submitted as part of FP McCann's plans to expand their Littleport factory has been heavily criticised. PHOTO: Harry Rutter

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Protestors trying to stop the expansion of a Littleport concrete works say a noise impact assessment they commissioned shows more serious concerns than a similar report prepared by the site owners.

Campaign group Save Our Fens says FP McCann's noise report is 'severly flawed' after it was found readings apparently taken at its Littleport site matched readings at the company's other sites. PHOTO: Harry RutterCampaign group Save Our Fens says FP McCann's noise report is 'severly flawed' after it was found readings apparently taken at its Littleport site matched readings at the company's other sites. PHOTO: Harry Rutter

The residents’ hired Create Consulting Engineers Ltd to undertake an independent noise assessment of FP McCann’s £2 million expansion plans.

Among Create’s observations is that noise levels projected by McCann’s own assessors were exactly the same as those at FP McCann’s other sites in Leicestershire and Cheshire.

Create says the assessment carried out by acoustics firm Hoare Lea in July found that the site’s recorded typical activity noise levels matched those at sites Cadeby and Byley to the decimal point.

And this was despite the assessments being carried out months at different sites, months apart and in different weather conditions.

Jody Blacklock, who carried out the review, said: “Although the processes would be extremely similar between the three plants, it is highly unlikely, due to maintenance, placement, make and model of the plant, that the sound pressure levels would be the same across all three sites.”

Mr Blacklock also questioned Hoare Lea’s conclusion that the Littleport expansion would have a low noise impact on the surrounding area and has called on FP McCann to scrap plans to operate on Sundays.

He said: “There was a difference of 4db between the level used in the Hoare Lea calculations and the measured lowest level during proposed operating hours.

“The proposed extension would see the rating increase from ‘low impact’ at all properties to ‘significant impact’ at the three closest properties along Wisbech Road, ‘adverse impact’ at Little Mare Fen Drove and ‘low to adverse impact’ at Mare Fen Drove.

“Additionally, the operating hours should not be extended to include Sundays as a production day.”

The review has been welcomed by campaign group Save Our Fens, who have been fighting to stop the extension being built.

A spokesman said: “We have consistently claimed that the noise reports were severely flawed and we are now vindicated.

“The independent report concludes that the impact will be significant. This is hardly surprising. How can anybody truly believe that a 30-acre site manufacturing concrete in two factories will not be noisy?

“Copies of the identical noise reports have been supplied to East Cambridgeshire District Council who will be taking up the matter with FP McCann. We will be writing to the chief executive of the noise consultancy used by FP McCann and also to their industry body.”

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