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A12 Noise – letter to fellow councillors

by Cllr Karen Chilvers on November 12, 2012

As I mentioned, the A12 noise issue and the decision by Defra to do absolutely nothing is on the Environment Panel agenda on Wednesday.  I am pleased that the chair, Cllr Tony Sleep, has agreed to meet with me prior to thiss to dicuss the issue more however, I have also written to all the councillors on the committee.  Here’s my email:

Dear all

I am taking a slightly unorthodox route here regarding this item but I feel very strongly that our residents, not just in my ward, have been treated very shabbily by the Highways Agency/Defra.  As we have an opportunity to send them a strong message from the council next week, I hoped by giving you some additional information prior to the meeting you will feel better informed as a member of the committee (or sub).
There are a number of sites identified in the report across Brentwood but, naturally, I speak on the Selwood Road and surrounding area in Brentwood West as I have been involved quite comprehensively in this matter since early 2007 and even continued to communicate with the Highways Agency during my sabbatical last year.
I cannot accept that the conclusion has been that no action be taken on the noise that is experienced by residents in the Homesteads.  What is particularly unpalatable is that they didn’t visit and take readings on the site – this was just a paper exercise based on the fact that “noise reducing surfacing” was put down a few years ago and the consultation was a sham – no residents were consulted by Defra and, although I was promised it would be, I am doubtful whether the survey and petition were taken into account as evidence.
But, here’s the irony, it was this noise-reducing surfacing that actually INCREASED the noise.  Defra have never answered my questions on this matter.

In 2010, Cllr Kendall and made the (seemingly pointless) trip to Bedford and presented a dossier with the results of a survey and a petition. The detail of this is here:
  • 67 survey responses were received and the petition had 94 signatures.
  • 99% of respondents were affected by noise from the A12.
  • 85% agreed that the noise was having an effect on their state of wellbeing
  • 93% said it affected how they used their garden.
  • 93% were concerned about air pollution from the A12.

In addition, the following comments were added, sometimes by a number of residents:

  • Unable to leave windows open
  • Noise starts at 4am
  • Getting noisier as road gets wider
  • Worse in winter
  • Noise is 24 hours
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Unbearable
  • Residue on curtains
  • Constant hum is depressing
  • Impact of A12 is worse year on year
  • Cannot sit in garden
  • Patio tiles get black with pollution
  • Constantly having to repat conversations and shout
  • Concerned about my children/grandchildren
  • My asthma/eczema has got worse/have developed asthma/eczema
  • Unable to sleep due to noise
  • Motorbikes speeding are the worse
  • Seems to be a high cancer incidence in our street
  • Environmental impact on trees and wildlife is a concern
I am meeting Cllr Sleep prior to the meeting and I thank him for taking an interest in this matter.
I hope that the committee will support me in making a case to Defra for a more thorough investigation, a consideration of the survey and petition and a consequent review of their decision.
Many thanks for your time.

Karen

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