Council continued to downplay the noise from trucks associated with the proposed bioenergy plant in last week’s Echo.
This is problematic because noise is a pollutant that damages physical and mental health. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), noise can interfere with restful sleep and can also stimulate the production of stress hormones which can degrade the cardiovascular system, compromise cognitive function, impair the immune system, and increase the likelihood of depressive or anxious thoughts.
Residents living along the haulage route to the bioenergy site expected the DA (development application) to provide an unambiguous accounting of truck movements in and out of the facility so that noise impacts could be understood. Instead of transparent calculations there has been obfuscation.
Residents have tried to piece together the truth from disparate sections of the DA to overcome this lack of official clarity. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the facility clearly states there will be ‘10 deliveries per day… in addition to those currently required for STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) operation’ (p.134). This increase will be slightly offset because the removal of biosolids from the site will cease, resulting in an average of one less truck per day. But the EIS also says over 16,000 tonnes of compost and contaminated waste will have to be transported offsite annually (p.72). Backloading this into green waste delivery vehicles is unrealistic for hygiene reasons, and yet the DA ignores the extra trucks needed for this huge job. The total number of trucks needed to service the facility is, therefore, a mystery.
A minimum of nine trucks per day, however, is certain. Each of these trucks will go along Bayshore Drive twice in order to enter and leave the facility. That means heavy, loud trucks will rumble past my home at least 18 times a day, 108 times a week, 5616 times a year. Of course, this is a conservative projection because an unknown number of the compost trucks are yet to be counted. The impact of this level of noise, as well as diesel exhaust particulate pollution, can hardly be dismissed as ‘low’ or ‘insignificant’.