Fears over brewer's 24-hour bottling plan

CONTROVERSIAL moves by one of the nation's biggest brewers to bottle beers day and night will not cause a “significant” rise in noise and smell levels, experts have claimed.

Laurence Cawley

CONTROVERSIAL moves by one of the nation's biggest brewers to bottle beers day and night will not cause a “significant” rise in noise and smell levels, experts have claimed.

A number of residents who live nearby have voiced fears about Greene King's plans to extend the working hours at its bottling and storage site in Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds, claiming it could increase noise levels from traffic and smashing glass.

The brewer currently has planning permission to work from 6am until 10pm on weekdays and from 8am until 6pm on Saturdays. But since last Christmas Greene King changed to a 24-hour working pattern on its bottling line on weekdays and the firm is now seeking permission from St Edmundsbury Borough Council to make the new system permanent.

Greene King said the extension of hours would only affect work on the bottling line and would not mean an increase in lorries leaving the site at night.

In his letter to the council, Greene King's agent Martin Page, of consultancy firm DHA, said the brewer had “recently experienced a noticeable increase in demand for bottled products which led to a 24-hour weekday working over the Christmas period to ensure orders were met.”

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He said he was not aware of any complaints from residents since the new 24-hour system was brought in.

“Allowing 24 hour weekday operation will increase the output capacity of the bottling facility, helping to meet demand to the benefit of the company and local economy.”

In his report to the council, development control officer Ben Woolnough said environmental health assessments had been carried out to test noise levels at night under Greene King's 24-hour working regime and found the increase in levels were insignificant.

“The bottling plant utilises modern bottle handling techniques, using rubberised machinery to avoid noise generated from bottles rattling together,” he said. “Furthermore the bottling line is located at the southern end of the building furthest away from residential properties.”

He said although there would be no vehicles leaving the plant at night, the extra work carried out would mean more lorries on the road during the daytime.

The council's planning officers have recommended Greene King's scheme be approved when it goes before the committee next Wednesday.

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