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Scrapyard to close after noise complaints

A Somerset scrapyard is to close after people living nearby complained about excessive noise from an aluminium shredding machine, forklift trucks, angle grinders and mechanical grabs.

Bidwell metals

Bidwell metals

Site operator Bidwell Metals holds an environmental permit for its site in Radstock, Bath, but it was activities carried out under exemptions that caused the unacceptable noise.

The Environment Agency (EA) said up to 10 local properties were affected, three ”very seriously”.

In February, it informed the company that its waste exemption activities were being de-registered after noise expert Jon Tofts concluded the noise nuisance was the “worst he had ever experienced in his career”.

The company challenged the decision and applied for a judicial review.

It argued that the EA had incorrectly applied UK and EU law, and the company had acquired a prescriptive right to cause a noise nuisance because of the length of time the business had been in existence.

The EA was accused of failing to consider the company’s property rights under human rights law.

It is the first time the agency had taken such action against a waste site because of extreme levels of noise pollution.

On the first day of the judicial review at Bristol High Court in October, Bidwell Metals withdrew its claim when the EA agreed to postpone enforcement action in return for the company ceasing trading under its permit and exemptions at the site by 30 April 2017.

It also pledged to, as far as reasonably practicable, clear the site of all waste and scrap metal, and inspect and clear site drainage and interceptors by 30 June 2017 and make good any polluted areas by 31 October 2017.

If the company fails to comply with the consent order, the EA said it can take action for contempt of court.

EA director of water, land and biodiversity Pete Hart said: “We tried to bring about change at this site through advice and guidance, and did a great deal of noise assessment to quantify and characterise the extent of nuisance.

“Eventually, we were left with no choice other than to put a stop to the exempt operations that were causing so much noise pollution.”

MRW has contacted the company for comment.

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