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