Haydon Brook Update

A letter from Damon Green, Team Leader Environmental Enforecement at Swindon Borough Council:

“I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the works being carried out along the Haydon Wick Brook.

You may recall that I contacted you at the beginning of the project to reassure you and your constituents that my team were aware of the potential impacts on the local residents, and were in contact with the project team to minimise those impacts in so far as was possible.

We are now well into the projected duration of the project, and I am aware that a small number of residents have passed on concerns, or requested information from the project team at the Environment Agency; especially recently as the project has come into extremely close contact with residents’ homes and gardens.

As you may be aware; the contractors have been forced by difficult ground conditions to apply to remove more trees, and to use slightly  larger piling machines to overcome the conditions.  This application is being considered by the planning team as we speak; but I have offered no adverse comment to them on this matter as I remain confident that the team have all mitigation measures in place and well managed.  In addition; the use of larger machinery, where possible, can very often lead to reduced disturbance due to not having to push the machinery to its design limits, and due to the resulting shorter ‘driving time’ for each pile.

A colleague and myself carried out an unannounced visit to the site yesterday afternoon to carry out a spot check of the noise levels, and to ensure that all of the required monitoring (especially with regard to vibration) was being carried out by the project team.  I was pleased to find that the works; in a very tight space in Clary Road, were being carried out with all possible consideration for local residents.  The results of my noise monitoring suggest that, if anything; the works in Clary Road are a little quieter than when I monitored previously, and remain comfortably within what can be considered reasonable for a project of this type.

I gather that one or more night-working residents have had alternative accommodation financed and arranged by the team, and that others have been offered but have not taken up the offer.  I found the contractors to be constantly monitoring the noise, vibration and site spoil impacts on the locality.  There was a road sweeper working constantly to limit the mess, and I witnessed evidence of works being stopped as the team’s own vibration limits were approached.  You may have noticed that some piles have been left ‘proud’; this is because the contractors are unable to complete driving them within their tight vibration limits, and have resolved to re-evaluate the project design to either cut them off at the current height  if appropriate, or to drive them in a different way.  I am content that the ‘best practicable means’ are being used to minimise the impacts of this essential project.

Of course; it would be impossible to imagine a situation where a project of this size and proximity to residential housing was completely free of impact, and I am sure some of your constituents are concerned about this.  My team remains happy to talk to any of your constituents whose concerns are not allayed by how the works are being managed, and we will of course investigate any complaints made with regard to noise, vibration, dust etc Nuisance as a matter of urgency if contact has been made with the Environment Agency’s email ‘hotline’ unsuccessfully.

To date; my team have received only 2 enquiries; which in itself I feel is a measure of just how considerately the works are being carried out, and the effectiveness of the direct communications channels set up.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can explain any of the above more fully, or if you have any concerns or queries about the works, and I will do my best to find the answer for you.”

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