By Rachel Clare
Residents living in Ashton and Bedminster are regularly woken up by banging and crashing at the Freightliner depot in South Liberty Lane and it is often so loud they cannot get back to sleep.
With the summer months approaching they said it is impossible to open bedroom windows as the sound of wine crates being loaded and unloaded onto trains is too much to bear.
Sarah Good and her partner Roger Giles live in South Liberty Lane, and have complained about the noise to Freightliner and Bristol City Council’s pollution control team.
The pair are used to being woken up in the middle of the night and say the noise is having a detrimental effect on their family life.
“It started about a year ago,” said Ms Good, a staff nurse at Southmead Hospital. “Before that we were used to hearing road traffic and the odd train but that was it.
“One night we woke up to hear really loud banging and crashing and the sound of engines revving.
“We honestly thought it was joyriders and we called the police.
“There had been no form of consultation and no prior warning that the Freightliner terminal had become operational again.”
The couple, who have two teenage children and a 10-year-old, have written to the council to explain their concerns.
The letter said: “We are regularly woken up in the early hours of the morning – once awake the noise is there as a constant irritation until we have to go to work, therefore making getting back to sleep impossible.
“Achieving a good night’s sleep is a distant memory and means we all go to work or school tired and frustrated.
“Our home life has transformed from a peaceful existence to one where we have regular friction caused by one of us getting annoyed by the constant noise.
“We are constantly stressed which will undoubtedly have long term effects on our physical and mental health.”
Bedminster resident Thomas Mundy, 26, who lives with his partner in Bedminster Down Road, said: “We also suffer ongoing noise pollution from Freightliner in the early hours of the morning.
“There is loud banging and crashing which is unbearable.
“We are working with the council and they are doing everything they can but the situation is getting worse.
“My partner and I are expecting a baby and cannot air the room because of the noise – in the summer it is awful.
“Freightliner arrived last year and our quality of life has just diminished.
“Not only are we not sleeping but residents around us, around 20 families, are also unhappy.”
“Our relationship is strained, we are tired, unhappy and don’t feel like we should have to move from a house we are otherwise happy in.”
Both families claimed the company has made little effort to reduce noise levels.
But they praised the council and said its noise pollution control team had done its best to negotiate with the company.
The freight terminal reopened in July last year, after being used as an airport park and ride car park.
Freightliner said the terminal handles deliveries of 8.96 million bottles of wine and this means there are fewer lorries on the road.
Seven “wine trains” call at the depot every week.
The alcohol comes from ports in the South East and is destined for a wine processing centre owned by Constellation Europe in Avonmouth.
The old freight terminal was closed in 1990 because of a lack of demand for freight, but was reinstated in a joint scheme by Network Rail and Freightliner in July last year.
A spokeswoman for Freightliner said: “Freightliner understands the concerns of the residents and is actively working with Bristol City Council and local MPs to continually improve the noise levels at the Bristol South Liberty Lane terminal.
“Since the initial concerns were raised Freightliner has met with the council and local residents to discuss the new noise lowering initiatives that have been established.
“The South Liberty Lane operation has created more than 20 new jobs and has removed in excess of 13,000 lorry movements from the UK’s congested roads to rail.”
A council spokeswoman said: “Council pollution officers have been working closely with residents and with Freightliner to try to resolve the problems of noise raised by neighbours. We are continuing with our investigations and are keeping local residents informed of any developments.”