Shut down ordered on noisy Seaton pipeline

Tecso pulls plug on evening pumping because of “unacceptably high” noise levels.

TESCO has had to pull the plug on its night time landfill pumping operations at Seaton while it seeks to reduce “unacceptably high” noise levels.

Testing is now underway to understand why the pipeline, used to transport infill material from a moored ship to the town’s regeneration site, is producing more noise than originally predicted by experts.

Tesco has immediately ceased use of the pipeline in the evenings until a permanent solution can be found to reduce the noise generated by the material passing through the pipeline.

Spokeswoman Juliette Bishop said: “It is in everyone’s interest to overcome this unexpected challenge as quickly and effectively as possible. However the well-being of local residents is really important to us, so we have taken the decision to stop pumping the infill material in the evenings.

“We will ensure that local residents are kept informed of progress on this issue.”

Tesco and their contractors says they will now work closely with the East Devon District Council’s environmental health officers to ensure that a satisfactory solution is reached.

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Tesco’s decision to suspend evening working was today (Wednesday) slammed as a totally inadequate response to the noise problems by former Mayor Sandra Semple.

In a statement to The Herald, she said: “After last night’s fiasco when Tesco’s first infill operation of its floodplain site began and the decibel levels reached at least 90 - as measured by East Devon District Council’s Environmental Health Officer, who was on site - a grovelling letter has been sent to local residents by Tesco.

“It completely misses the point - Tesco is putting local residents at risk. The decibel level was so high that they should stop all infill operations until it is below the 64 decibels maximum that the Tesco and its consultants said it would achieve.

“A level above 85 decibels is harmful to human health - particularly babies and young people - and can lead to lifetime hearing loss.

“This raised level of noise had been predicted by James Semple, of Seaton Development Trust, when he spoke at the EDDC Development Management Committee meeting where planning permission for the infill was granted. He said that the 64 decibel level suggested by Tesco was unachievable, even if the pipes were lagged - which some of them are not, contrary to the design agreed in the planning application.

“Councillors on the DMC were swayed to agree to 24 hour gravel discharge after Mrs Kate Little - EDDC Head of Planning - spoke rapturously and influentially about a Tesco-organised visit to a Bournemouth beach - also attended by two of our district councillors. As I recall, at the meeting Mrs Little described the sound she heard as ‘a gentle whooshing and the occasional slight ker-plink’ and made it sound almost like one of those new-age recordings that people use to get to sleep.

“District councillor Steph Jones - EDDC’s ‘Seaton Champion’ - then spoke just as eloquently of the visit and the quietness of the operation and urged the DMC to approve the application.

“At that beach the group saw sharp sand being blown on to a Bournemouth beach from a straight pipe, not gravel and sea water sent at high velocity through a 1.8 km steel pipe which frequently changes angle and rises and falls over two roads.”