MP demands solution to range noise

AN Essex MP has said he will pursue the Government until a solution is found to reduce the noise and vibrations of explosions from a military range.Homeowners have long complained about the impact from Shoeburyness with some claiming their houses have cracks as a result of the continued testing of weapons at the site.

AN Essex MP has said he will pursue the Government until a solution is found to reduce the noise and vibrations of explosions from a military range.

Homeowners have long complained about the impact from Shoeburyness with some claiming their houses have cracks as a result of the continued testing of weapons at the site.

A yearlong study is underway by science and technology company, QinetiQ, which does defence research for the Government, to try and find a suitable solution.

But in a letter from the Ministry of Defence to John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon and East Chelmsford, it was revealed there had been a "lack of success" in finding a noise suppression method.


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It said various techniques to reduce the noise had been tried, including sound barriers and applying devices to the end of the barrels of weapons, but none had offered a complete solution.

The letter from the Minister for Defence Procurement, Lord Bach, said sound deadening devices had interfered with the weapons and in some cases caused hazards to people testing them.

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He concluded: "Although successful in reducing the level of noise, the techniques resulted in problems that either made the trials ineffective or increased the risk of accident involving QinetiQ staff."

Mr Whittingdale said the problems caused by Shoeburyness last monthhad sparked numerous complaints to Burnham Town Council.

He said: "The noise and vibrations caused by the explosions at Shoeburyness ranges continue to cause distress to many of my constituents, particularly those living in the Dengie.

"It is disappointing that it has, so far, not been possible to find a way of suppressing the noise without affecting the trials being undertaken.

"This problem has gone on for far too long. I am pleased that at last action is being taken but I will continue to pursue the Government and QinetiQ until a permanent and effective solution is found."

Earlier this yearmonitors were set up in houses in Tendring, in Burnham on Crouch and Shoeburyness as well as at Herne Bay and Whitstable in Kent to send back information about the impact of the explosions.

Tendring district councillor, Roy Smith, said he was concerned the Government was putting financial considerations ahead of people's peace of mind.

"I have only had one complaint recently, so perhaps things have got better, but what we really want to see is it moved to an area where no-one is affected by the noise and vibrations, but we have been told there is the consideration about people's jobs beign lost," he said.

A spokeswoman for QinetiQ said: "We are in the middle of doing this year-long monitoring exercise with local residents and do take the issue very seriously."

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