01/07/2009

Councillor expresses concern over defence college noise levels



Councillor expresses concern over defence college noise levels

Friday, 26 June 2009

A FLEMINGSTON councillor is questioning the small print of plans for the military training complex at St Athan – and says that noise levels could be a major problem.
The Vale Council is currently considering the extensive planning application for the Defence Training College (DTC), and the public are being invited to express their views.
Coun Roger Eustace told The GEM: “There has been much local support for the DTC, but the previous public consultations and exhibitions made little mention of the type of military training – which was always presented as low level.
“The goalposts have now changed.”

Coun Eustace can see problems ahead from a number of areas, with noise a major concern.
He said: “There will be a significant adverse impact upon the local communities from military activities, which include engine running, tank pad and road from 2014, flightline with up to three military jet aircraft training on northern cross runway for up to four hours per day (Monday to Friday), Picketston firing range and Picketston field training area.”
He said: “Section 16.15 of the application confirms that the significant detrimental noise levels from the engine running will affect properties to the south of Boverton; and ground noise sources from core activities will affect properties to the west of Llantwit Road (Briarbank) and Boverton Mill Farm in 2014 and 2020.
“There will be a significant increase in road traffic noise due to additional development-related traffic on existing and new roads, and the cumulative effect of ambient noise levels due to change in airfield uses, field training and road traffic will affect Broadway Nursing Home and other areas.”
Coun Eustace is concerned that Picketston Firing Range (document 16, pages 93 – 96) will be in use most of day from 8.30am – 4.30pm, with eight lanes that could be in use at any one time, with 40-minute sessions using 40 rounds on each lane.
There is an existing firing range, but at present it is used quite sparingly. However, when the defence college is running to capacity, there will be a big increase. The nearest properties are in the New Barn Road area.
He said: “There will also be firing during the hours of darkness, but sessions will be less frequent and involve 10 rounds on each lane. Where possible, firing will cease before 11pm.

“The range will also be used for armament testing, including 5.56mm minigun and the larger calibre general purpose machine gun. These will be used two or three times a month for half a day, and would typically comprise four or five bursts per weapon”
He continued: “A typical training day at Picketston Field Training Area (document 16, pages 96-97) will be 8.30am – 5.30pm, but blank firing of weapons will also arise outside these hours, and would be undertaken before 11pm, where possible.
“The area will mainly be used for ambush training comprising noisy initial demonstrations followed by a few hours of dry drills. Typically, there will be eight demonstrations per day consisting of two Land Rovers being ambushed by one or two thunder flashes, with possibly blank small arms fire from SA80 rifles up to 30 rounds
“Acoustic fencing and bunding will be installed, but there will still be a medium to high magnitude effect on neighbouring properties.”
Coun Eustace concluded: “This extension of activities must be resisted for the sake of the local communities. The public consultation ends soon and I urge residents to register their views with the Vale Council through community or town councils.”

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