A POWER plant which has had more than 100 objections apologised after its operators’ newsletter wrongly claimed its new noise assessment had been accepted by Rotherham Council.
Residents near Arlington Energy’s gas-fuelled station have described the racket as “hell” and are still angry about not being consulted despite the nearest homes being 80 metres from the 20MW development.
Martin Cox, spokesman for action group Swallownest Stop The Noise, said: “I take exception to the suggestion the document is a community newsletter.
“Their actions to date have not revealed any desire on your part to be a member of our community. Rather, they have shown total contempt.
“The acknowledgement that noise levels are ‘slightly higher than expected’ is rather an understatement. Previous comments to us have been dismissive of our complaints.”
Chris Wilkins, development manager at RMBC, said the Arlington statement that the council had accepted the new noise assessment was “misleading”.
Arlington spokesman George Beard said: “With respect to the most recent noise assessment submitted to RMBC and the corresponding reference made to it within the newsletter issued to nearby residents, Arlington would like to apologise for any confusion which has been caused as a result.
“It was not Arlington’s intention to pre-empt the council’s conclusions in its considerations of the findings of the report.”
The firm filed a new planning application in May for changes including bigger flues, improvements to the acoustic fence and installation of silencers.
Residents have grasped the opportunity to comment this time around — with more than 100 objections currently on the RMBC website.
Aardvark Energy Matters, agents for the application, also brought a response from residents with a letter telling the council not to count multiple protests from one household.
Mr Cox said: “Such a suggestion beggars belief. It displays naivety, seeks to shut down debate, invites censorship, but above all displays desperation.
“The plant affects us all as individuals, not as a collective or commune. The suggestion that each individual’s voice should be gagged and stifled, and confined to a joint view from a single household, is outrageous.
“While we are happy to speak as one in our condemnation of the plant, how it effects each of us is unique.”
Arlington indicated to RMBC that it would operate for 2,000 hours a year but obtained permission from the Environment Agency for double that figure.
Meanwhile, a nearby plant run by Mercia Power Response on Chesterfield Road, has successfully applied to increase its operational hours from 1,500 a year to 6,188.
The EA, which approved the move, said: “We concluded that emissions from the site are unlikely to be a significant contributor to, or cause an exceedance of an environmental standard.”
Mr Cox said: “We have seen this behaviour on numerous sites around the country. Applicants are saying one thing in their applications then simply ramp up the running times once they have their planning permission in place.”