A noisy factory called Deeside Aluminium was blighting the lives of some residents of a small estate called Pentre Maelor on the edge of an industrial estate and the outskirts of Wrexham. When the factory was first built it had two smelters and they were operated on a 9 -5 weekday basis. The factory was sold, it then had six smelters operating 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, at this point noise and vibrations seemed to permeate some houses, most notably at night and as one resident, Audrey, used to say “It is in the walls and even in my pillow! Some nights I have to go out and sleep in my car”. She actually feared for her sanity. Not all houses were affected and those who were not thought the complainants were trouble makers, seeking compensation. A number of residents worked in the factory and were frightened they could lose their jobs if the factory was closed. Relationships had also broken down between those who were affected and the Council because council officers had not been able to discern any noise on their high frequency sound monitors.
TCC members spoke to every single household on the estate, and re-established relationships with local councillors, the officers, the MP and the Environment Agency. We brought in an expert from Cardiff University to educate us about the effects of various different types of sound.
We attempted to negotiate with the factory owner, but this failed. Instead TCC members travelled with the BBC to Manhattan, to confront the owner with a videoletter from the residents. Simultaneously, others were meeting with the local MP, and a flotilla of cars with black balloons trailing from them were delivering the videoletter by hand to each County Councillor.
As a result the entire management at the factory was changed. The Council took the factory to court to enforce the improvements needed. When the owner was not willing to do so he sold the factory on to a new company who implemented all the changes.
A BBC documentary was broadcast, and finally we proved that Audrey was not going mad!