Kilmorack Community/SSE Noise Issues Meeting

Kilmorack Community/SSE Liaison Meeting

Noise Issues Update

Thursday 31st October 2013 at Kilmorack Hall 7.45pm


Kilmorack Community Council: Chair. Steve Byford(SB), Vice-Chair John Stewart(JS), Secretary, Mary Graham (MG), Mark Hedderwick(MH), Clare Caldwell (CC).

Ward Councillor: Cllr. Helen Carmichael(HC)

Twenty seven residents from the surrounding area.

The Highland Council: John Lee(JL), Area Environmental Health Manager(INB&S), Gregor McCormick(GM), Environmental Health Officer(Noise)

SSE/SHET: Alastair Brand(AB), Project Director Beauly-Denny(B-D). Neil Thomson(NT), Engineering Manager B-D, Morven Smith(MS), Corporate Affairs, Lisa Marchi(LM), Major Projects Liaison Manager, Kate Hoy, note taker

Sgurr Energy: Eric Donnelly(ED), Noise & Vibration Consultant.

Apologies: Cllr Margaret Davidson(MD)

Meeting commenced 19.45hrs

SB opened the meeting and asked that representatives introduced themselves and state their roles. The floor then was opened up for Community concerns. Various residents identified sleep disturbance due to being woken at around 0400hrs by a loud hum, having to move bedrooms or attempt to sleep on the couch to escape the noise, or resorting to sleeping tablets. Unable to use their garden throughout the summer on bad days due to the loud inescapable hum or leave windows open during the hot summer days/nights. Children being unable to concentrate on homework and attending school tired due to poor sleep. Going to work tired from sleep deprivation and performance suffering. Night shift workers being unable to sleep during the day to due to the unremitting noise.

THC Gregor MacCormick EHO reported that he had personally monitored and heard the noise at a number of locations and analysis of the results confirm that they constituted a Statutory Nuisance. Sgurr energy had accepted these figures. JL stated that on legal advice from THC a statutory Abatement Notice would not be issued at this time as SSE/SHET was working with THC to resolve the issues ASAP and it was deemed counter productive to the process. However he confirmed that the route of serving an order may be pursued in due course should SSE/SHET fail to provide such resolution. AB reported that he had attended a meeting with Sgurr Energy, THC(EHOs), ward Councillors and representatives of KCC and that SSE/SHET were committed to resolving the noise issues as expediently as possible.

Sgurr Energy(ED) stated that 23 additional items in the sub-station had been identified and provided details on a quick fix for the transformers to be instigated from Monday 11th November 2013.

  1. Anti vibration pads to be installed between concrete bases and transformers.
  2. Soft infill to be inserted under the transformers.

Further measures to be undertaken after modelling work completed(end of Nov) and procurement procedures followed. Remedial/mitigation measures anticipated to be in place late spring/early summer 2014(acoustic screening)

SB asked that the TCR(Thyristor Controlled Reactor), identified by  the Community Council and THC and agreed by Sgurr and SSE/SHET as the loudest emitter, be addressed first. ED stated that it was not possible to isolate one item in the procurement procedure.

NT reported that he was awaiting permission from National Grid to turn off certain items for monitoring purposes and that transformers had been around for a hundred years.

Residents replied that the piece of equipment identified as causing the most nuisance was new and that we had lived with the original sub-station for decades without these issues. The Residents conveyed the view that there was a lack of confidence in SSE/SHET and in THC. SB responded that our Ward Councillors, HC and MD, and THC had been extremely helpful in this matter.

Hugh Balfour Paul raised the issue of line noise around Eskadale but SSE/SHET said that it should be disregarded as not relevant to this meeting. SB ruled that this was outwith the remit of this meeting but Kiltarlity CC may be able to take this up with SSE/SHET. AB said that they would meet with HBP again at a later date to discuss his issues. However ED and NT informed the meeting that when the line is at full capacity noise levels may be up to ten times those presently experienced. However mitigation measures should take these levels into consideration within the sub-station.

SB asked that noise monitoring should continue over the next few years.

MH asked ED to quantify the difference in noise levels between 100 and 103dB. ED confirmed that 103 was twice as loud. Sound is algorithmic the meeting was told.

The Residents asked whether SSE/SHET would be providing any compensation for the distress and disturbance experienced. AB stated that was outwith their remit but MS indicated that the request would be passed to the relevant department.

AB and MS confirmed that SSE/SHET were taking this extremely seriously and were committed to a resolution. AB stated that lessons would be learned for future projects.

SB thanked all parties for attending

Meeting closed 2200hrs

Minutes of the 7th November 2013 – Draft

Minutes of Meeting held on Thursday 7th November 2013 at the ‘The Kilmorack Hall’ at 7.30pm

Present: Steve Byford (Chairman), John Stewart(Vice-Chairman),Mary Graham(Secretary), John Graham,, Mark Hedderwick,
Apologies: Duncan Fraser, Clare Caldwell, Cllr. Hamish Wood, Cllr. Helen Carmichael, Cllr Margaret Davidson, Cllr. Drew Hendry,
Community Members: Ron Mclaughlin, Steve and Madelaine Robinson
Guests: PC Scott MacLean

Meeting commenced 19.45hrs.

Minutes of the previous meeting Thurs 3rd Octoer 2013 were taken as read and accepted as a true and accurate record. Proposed by John Graham and seconded John Stewart – Approved.
Police Scotland, Beauly Area Report:
PC Scott MacLean reported.
1. No crimes reported in the Kilmorack area since last meeting.
2. One suspicious white ford transit van noticed in Kirkhill.
3. Asked that residents ensure that vehicles are ready for the winter weather.
PC Maclean left 1956hrs

Matters arising:
1. Access to Farley Woods: Steve and Madelaine Robinson provided some pictures which showed SSE had enclosed the path with a wire fence topped with barbed wire and fitted gates at the end. Concerns have been raised by the local residents that these may well be locked in the future and there is no pedestrian access provided. MH confirmed that the fencing was standard for SSE/Murphy. JG had spoken with Stewart Eastaugh, THC access officer, who has spoken to SSE and will keep a watching brief. As the main gate is locked against vehicles these new additions seem superfluous. Steve and Madelaine then left.

2. Noise Issues – Wester Balblair – Report on the Community meeting on 31st Oct 2013 at Kilmorack Hall with SSE – Alastair Brand, Beauly/Denny Project DIrector, Neil Thomson, Beauly/Denny Engineering Manager, Morven Smith, Corporate Affairs, Lisa Marchi, Major Project Liaison Manager/Sgurr Energy – Eric Donnelly, Noise and Vibration Team Leader/THC – John Lee, Area Environment Health Manager, Gregor MacCormick, Environmental Health Officer, Cllr. Helen Carmichael. Thirty local residents were in attendance. SSE, Sgurr Energy and THC concurred that there was a significant noise issue with the new equipment from the Wester Balblair sub-station. Short term mitigation measures will start on Monday 11th November 2013 – 1. Anti vibration pads under the transformers 2. Infill under transformers 3. Further measures will not be in place until late spring, early summer 2014. The Chairman expressed his concerns and suggested that a letter was sent regarding the following points. 1. No apology for the disruption and stress caused to the Residents. 2. Initially no consultation on date(Halloween) time, or venue(Lovat Arms) 3. Limitation on numbers 4. Initially no opportunity given to have an input into the agenda 5. Attitude of SSE’s Engineer 6. Request noise measurements to be continued before and after mitigation. It was then decided that we needed independent advice and would appoint Dick Bowdler to assess the initial results including the October data, yet to be provided. The Secretary to ask Sgurr and THC to provide the data to Mr. Bowdler.

3. SSE Beauly Community Liaison Meeting – Concerns were raised that the group now included Beauly(not affected) and Kiltarlity, that SSE intended to chair the meeting, that KCC would only be allowed two representatives and the SSSE would provide the Agenda. The Secretary was instructed to write to Lisa that this was not acceptable and we would provide three representatives, Steve Byford, John Stewart and Mark Hedderwick . Steve Byford to Co-Chair the meeting.

4. FCS – JG and MG were unable to attend due to the SSE meeting and in their absence it was decided that KCC and Glenurquart CC would no longer be required on the FCS Liaison group. Also free local access to Glen Affric would not be extended to those areas. Cllr. Carmichael had agreed to discuss this with KCC. Ongoing.

Chairman’s Business: None

Vice Chairman’s Report
1. The Altyre Road notice board had been knocked over and the glass broken. Carl Brocklehurst has offered to replace glass, fix legs and concrete back in place. Cost will be minimal. All approved.

2. Louisa’s Memorial Seat is needing some cleaning and maintenance. MH will see if he can get it pressure washed and Community Payback will be asked if it could be cleaned and smartened up in spring 2014.

Secretary’s Business: None

Planning Matters:
1. Orrin Wind Farm Mast application – No Objection
2. Land 65M East Of Camesky Ruilick Beauly – We have commented re drainage into the road drains which often overflow and create an ice hazard on the road.
3. Core Wild Lands Consultation. Agreed that we would request that Area 24, Central Highlands, was extended to the whole of Glen Orrin. Photos and ornithological report to be included.
4. ABO Proposed Wind Farm on Erchless Estate, Breakachy Farm and Farley Estate. THC to deal with any Community Benefit. Any request for meetings with ABO must be open to all the Community, not just discussions with KCC.

Finance: No report.

• IACC Meeting Tuesday 19th November 7.00pm Town House, Inverness – SB
• Inner Moray Firth Development Plan – Update received, no change in KCC noted. Presentation-Lovat Arms 19th Nov.
• Climate Challenge Fund extended by £10.3 million.
• War Memorial Trust info – JS will pass on to British Legion

• MH raised parent’s concerns that SSE has approached the School to make a corporate film extolling the virtues of the Beauly-Denny line and their support in the Community which would feature the pupils. It was felt that it was in poor taste considering the large number of people suffering noise from both the substation and the overhead lines. MH to convey the concerns to the PTA meeting.
• SB conveyed Tom Lewis’s apologies for his lack of contact but the change of owners had been time consuming. MH showed where the new paths were to be constructed.

Next meeting: 5th December 2013 at the Kilmorack Hall – 7.30pm.
Meeting Closed: 22.35hrs

Steve Byford, Chairman