‘Relocate Dale Farm or move us’ say those living beside Cookstown factory

Homeowners living in a cul-de-sac surrounded by Dale Farm’s Cookstown factory have called on the government and the company, to relocate them or close the factory.
Dale Farm's Dunmanbridge factory outside CookstownDale Farm's Dunmanbridge factory outside Cookstown
Dale Farm's Dunmanbridge factory outside Cookstown

Problems the residents of Riverside said they face on an almost daily basis include noise and odour pollution, vibrations and a build up of grease and grime on their homes and cars.

Dale Farm, they said, had cleaned their windows and cars for decades, but since relationships with the company became strained - they stopped doing it.

While a noise assessment carried out in relation to Dale Farm in February this year, and retrieved by residents through a freedom of information request, shows that noise levels tested on two separate nights at 14 Riverside were 11.2 decibels above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline of 45dB.

WHO guidelines state: “To avoid sleep disturbance, indoor guideline values for bedrooms are 30dB LAeq for continuous noise and 45dB LAmax for single sound events.”

“If the government plan to use Dunman as an industrial site then the least they can do is talk to the residents and have a plan ready to move the residents away,” a spokesman for those living in the shadow of Dale Farm, told the Mail.

“If not, then Dale Farm needs to act and move their factory away from the people (houses) that were here before them.

“We are sick and tired of the noises from both the factories and HGV traffic, the sickening odours and the vibration which is probably doing our private home’s foundations no good at all.”

Residents told the Mail they once had a great working relationship with Dale Farm, “but since we started standing up for ourselves about three years ago, Dale Farm refuse to even talk to us,” they added.

When all of these issues were put to Dale Farm, a spokesperson for the company said: “Dale Farm is a socially responsible company which has won a number of awards for its high standards of environmental performance.

“There has been dairy processing activity at the Dunmanbridge site for over 70 years and Dale Farm has received planning permission for developing the site which extends to 34 acres.

“The majority of the development is on the back end of the site which is a significant distance away from housing. Once completed, the development work will result in reduced levels of noise.

“Dale Farm has been working closely with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to ensure that any impact of its operation and the new development is well inside official guidelines.”

An NIEA spokesman said: “Dale Farm is a long established industrial plant and it is recognised that it has co-existed with neighbouring residential properties for many years. The department has no plans to turn this into an industrial area. Dunman is identified as a village in the Cookstown area plan with no proposed new industrial zonings.

“The role of the planning authority is to ensure that development occurs in an orderly and sustainable manner - other authorities such as Environmental Health are responsible for ensuring that any noise, nuisance, odour or other risks to human health arising from the operation of the plant are dealt with.

“In assessing any applications the department will continue to have full regard for the amenity of nearby residents.”

A spokesman for Environmental Health at Cookstown council told the Mail: “I am aware there are some concerns from local residents regarding the operation of the Dale Farm Factory complex [and] complaints have been brought to the attention of the Inspectorate, with a view to having them addressed.

“Council has received a query regarding possible light pollution from the premises, which is under investigation.”