Noise caused by heavy machinery is unbearable say Westbury-on-Trym couple
A COUPLE say their lives have been ruined by vibrations from heavy machinery used by an engineering firm in their street.
Pete and Monica Lang say the vibrations and accompanying noises cause a variety of unwelcome health complaints, including pounding headaches, nausea, blurred vision, lack of concentration and exhaustion.
They claim the vibrations even caused a gas leak at their Westbury-on-Trym house, which they say they have had to leave for long periods when the noise becomes too much.
The retired couple say they are now "severely depressed" and feel "isolated" because their attempts to get the problem sorted through official channels have not succeeded.
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Mr and Mrs Lang's house in Kelston Road, which has been in Mrs Lang's family since 1933, sits opposite the workshop of Strenco Tools – an engineering firm which makes tools for the automotive and aerospace industries.
There were no problems until a large milling machine was delivered to the workshop in August 2009. Mr Lang, 70, said noise from the machine was tolerable up to July 2010, when it began to be used for heavier work.
He said: "The machine began creating much more noise and very severe vibration, which shook our house, shook our floors, shook our radiators on the wall and rattled our UPVC windows in their frames."
Mr Lang claims he asked the company to reduce the noise but when it continued he complained to the city council. He also went to the council's planning department to question the firm's use of heavy industrial machines in a residential area but was told the company was not breaking any planning laws.
In December 2011 one of the council's environmental officers came to the couple's house to install monitoring equipment.
Mr Lang claims another milling machine was delivered to the workshop in December 2011.
In April last year a gas pipe in the couple's house burst.
Mr Lang said: "We continued to complain to the council but the environmental officers would rarely be able to come when called to a nuisance noise, and in a lot of cases were not able to come at all. We were told by the council that it would continue to monitor the noise.
"The problem continued but we felt that we were not being taken seriously by the council and enlisted the help of our MP, Charlotte Leslie.
"She contacted the council on our behalf and asked why the problem was still ongoing."
Mr Lang said that a noise abatement notice was served on Strenco Tools on November 29 last year.
The company appealed the notice on December 17, on the grounds that it was unreasonable.
The case is still ongoing and the machine can continue to operate while the appeal is being made.
Mr Lang said: "Now there are two heavy industrial machines in use in their building that is surrounded on three sides by residential properties.
"Our neighbours feel the same as us. This whole situation is horrendous – as well as the effects on our health, we also worry about the structure of the house and the possibility of future gas leaks.
"My wife has had heart attacks in the past and has a pacemaker, so we worry about possible effects from this very heavy vibration."
Strenco Tools spokesman Steve Ridding said: "We have been working extremely closely with the council from the initial reporting of this issue.
"To our best knowledge we have complied with all aspects associated with these proceedings and this is recognised by the council.
"We feel this matter is being resolved through all the normal channels.
"We continue to be open and transparent with all the parties involved in this situation and we aim to work constructively towards a resolution."
Strenco's appeal against the abatement notice will be heard next month.
A council spokesman said the authority did not think it appropriate to comment on the specifics of the case while legal action was ongoing.
He said: "It is usual in cases like this for the notice to be suspended pending the appeal.
"Strenco Tools Ltd has recently submitted a planning application to provide a new, insulated building to house the equipment that has caused disturbance to Mr Lang."