- Why is this Study being carried out?
The Study is being carried out to address concerns in the communities around the Thames Estuary area that the noise and vibration which arises from activity at Ministry of Defence (MOD) Shoeburyness (the Range) could be damaging to property. It will also be used to re-validate the conclusions of the most recent comprehensive Noise and Vibration Study undertaken for this site, which was completed in 2004.
- Why has the Study taken so long to get underway?
As a Defence contractor, QinetiQ has to abide by Government contracting policies that ensure value for money for the taxpayer when inviting bids and placing a contract. While there are many experts who can record noise data (e.g. at airports and railway stations), there are fewer companies that also have the expertise to analyse the data and draw up a conclusive report. The choice of suitable independent competent suppliers has, therefore, been very limited and ensuring they had a comprehensive understanding of the scope of this complicated Study before placing a contract has been more time consuming than originally expected.
- Who has arranged this Study and who is paying for it?
QinetiQ, as operator and manager of the site, has contracted with Southdowns but the Study itself is being paid for by the MOD.
- What is the Study measuring?
The Study will measure what, if any, effect noise and vibration emanating from the Range has on property and whether this has the potential to cause damage.
- When will the Study start?
The Study is scheduled to start in the Spring of 2015.
- Why can’t the Study begin before then?
The Study will begin after similar work has been undertaken at another MOD range. This will enable the sophisticated monitoring equipment that is being procured for the Study to be used at both ranges, which represents a more cost-effective use of taxpayers’ money.
- How long will the Study last?
The Study will last for approximately six months, to cover a representative selection of the work undertaken on the Range and also the weather (and therefore acoustic) conditions experienced.
- How many monitors will there be and where will they be located during the Study?
Up to 10 monitors will be located at key points around the Thames Estuary. Southdowns conducted a desktop study and analysed data supplied by QinetiQ which indicated those areas which appeared to be most affected by noise and vibration emanating from the Range. They then identified properties in each area which were potential candidates as a location for a monitor. This was followed by a physical survey of the properties which took into account acoustic factors and suitability to support technical requirements e.g. broadband internet connection, available power supply etc. The final decision on the exact location of each monitor is still being finalised but we will update this FAQ when that information becomes available.
- What part do the monitors play in the Study?
The monitors are dedicated computers that, together with the sensors mounted nearby and connected to the computer, measure the noise and vibration at a location. The monitors will record noise and vibration data (see below) and transmit this data back to Southdowns for further analysis.
- Will the monitors be switched on all the time?
The monitors will remain switched on at all times, but will only be activated to record data when there is a central trigger signal generated by an activity on the Range or when the local noise and/or vibration local to the monitor exceed a pre-set trigger level.
- Will the monitors be able to record any conversations?
No, the monitors will not record conversations, unless the conversation is close enough to a microphone and loud enough to exceed the pre-set trigger level. In the unlikely event of this happening, any recordings will be disregarded and deleted at the earliest opportunity.
- When will the findings of the Study be made available?
Following the Study, there will be a period of data analysis by Southdowns. It is too early to say how long this will take, but the findings will be made available as soon as practicably possible after the end of the Study.
- What will happen if the Study proves that the noise and vibration is damaging property?
The MOD, as owner of the site, will be responsible for any subsequent action if the Study concludes that damage is being caused to property as a result of Range activity.
- Will the findings of the Study be public?
The findings of the Study will be made public. It is too early to say when this will be, but it will be as soon as practicably possible.
- Who wrote these FAQ?
While the Study is totally independent, these FAQ have been written jointly by QinetiQ, the MOD and Southdowns in order to cover as many aspects as possible. This will hopefully help you make an informed decision as to whether or not to agree to a monitor being installed at your property.