We take the issue of noise from the Rugby plant very seriously and do all we can to ensure that it does not cause nuisance to our neighbours in the local community.

Making sense of sound

CEMEX UK is employing latest technology in its bid to ensure that the plant does everything it can to reduce its impact on its immediate neighbours.

A state-of-the-art “acoustic camera” has been brought in over recent weeks to help identify with precision the exact sources of noise that are likely to carry to properties in Townsend Lane and Thurnmill Road in particular.

One immediate success is shown in our photograph above where a “hot spot” pinpoints noise being emitted from a particular vent. With that knowledge, the company has invested in a special exhaust silencer which has now solved the problem.

As Environment Manager, Jamie Jordan, points out, it will never be possible to completely silence one of the UK’s largest cement works. While the actual number of noise complaints is actually quite small, the company remains determined to minimise the impacts wherever it feasibly can.

“While the plant is substantially enclosed, there are so many potential sources of noise that it is extremely difficult to pinpoint them exactly,” he says. “That’s why we hired in an acoustic camera with the capacity to zero in with great precision on what types of noise are coming from where.

“One of its great advantages is that it doesn’t just measure decibel levels but can actually identify particular noise frequencies. We know, for example, that low frequency noises travel a lot further and are more likely to be a problem.

The idea of being able to “see” sound was a dream until fairly recently when the first acoustic cameras were developed based on an array of microphones. A beam-forming technique is used to locate sound sources and create an image which is then superimposed on a normal camera shot taken at the same time.

Meanwhile, work has also now been completed on the erection of a two-metre high acoustic fence (pictured above) which, coupled with new tree planting, will act as a barrier to noise on the western side of the plant.

“Tackling noise has been likened to peeling away the layers of an onion,” says Community Affairs Manager, Ian Southcott. “Every time you peel off a layer by solving a problem, another one is revealed. Fortunately as the layers reduce, the noise levels also diminish.”

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