ROADS Minister Danny Kennedy has revealed nocturnally produced asphalt tarred several Londonderry roads in 2013 after being quizzed on the noise nuisance implications of the practice by UUP colleague Michael McGimpsey.
He said a County Londonderry quarry plant has been working through the night to allow Roads Service contractors tar roads in the city.
The Whitemountain Quarries plant on the Letterloan Road between Limavady and Coleraine is amongst a number that have been burning the midnight oil to allow Roads Service pour hot asphalt on Northern Ireland roads.
The Minister revealed Macosquin-produced bitumen ended up on Dungiven Road, Haw Road, Fountain Hill, Glengalliagh Road and Clarendon Street in 2013.
In 2012 nocturnal asphalt production by Whitemountain supplied tar for the resurfacing of Glenshane Road, Duke Street Roundabout, Gransha Roundabout, Spencer Road, Pennyburn Industrial Estate, Infirmary Road, Water Street and the Foyle Embankment.
Queen’s Quay, Foyle Street and the car park opposite Altnagelvin were also touched up using Whitemountain asphalt in 2011.
Another County Londonderry construction firm - FP McCann of Magherafelt - was also listed as one of several firms to have operated overnight in order to supply tar to DRD contractors.
Since May 2011 its asphalt has been used to tar the A5 (Melmount Road, Victoria Road and Great Northern Link), the Ligford Road between Strabane and Plumbridge and the Baronscourt and Douglas Roads in Newtonstewart.
Former Health Minister Michael McGimpsey asked the Roads Minister about the implications of overnight asphalt production in terms of noise pollution,
Mr Kennedy stated that: “In order to minimise delays to traffic and inconvenience to residents and businesses, my Department, occasionally requires a roads contractor to carry out road works outside normal working hours.
“This has meant that, on some occasions, contractors have had to manufacture asphalt materials during the night or at weekends. This situation has occurred on 207 occasions since May 2011.”
Mr McGimspey asked what steps were taken to ensure such production does not contravene statutory noise nuisance regulations.
Mr Kennedy replied: “The Department of the Environment’s (DoE) Air and Environmental Quality Unit is responsible for the legislation and policy on noise control.
“With regard to the manufacture of asphalt materials for road works, noise limits for specific sites producing these materials are contained within the relevant planning permissions.
“The enforcement of noise control legislation, for either night or weekend work within these sites, is a matter for Environmental Health departments of the local council.
“If you have particular concerns about a specific site I would suggest that you contact the appropriate local council in the first instance to discuss the relevant issues and ascertain if indeed there is a contravention of noise control legislation at the site.
“I am not aware of any asphalt manufacturing plant that has been served with a notice in relation to the contravention of noise regulations and in particular any plant that has been served with such a notice while carrying out work directly related to the laying of road surfacing material for my Department.”