Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Noisy Firth Rixson plant may be forced to shut


Officials said they had been talking to the firm for many years

A jet engine parts manufacturer in north Derbyshire says it may be forced to close down a factory because of a noise abatement order.

Firth Rixson in Darley Dale says operating restrictions imposed by a judge at Chesterfield Magistrates' Court will make the plant "uneconomic".

The factory employs 160 people, making it one of the district's largest companies.

The firm said it had already spent £750,000 on reducing noise.

'Terrible blow'

Darley Dale District Council said more needed to be done to protect residents from the noise coming from the firm's 5,600-tonne press.

A spokesman from the district council said: "Derbyshire Dales District Council attempted over more than a decade to persuade Firth Rixson to take action that would ease the noise problems suffered by people who live near their factory in Darley Dale. "

This is a terrible blow to the area (and) to high technology manufacturing in the UK
Peter Bland, Firth Rixson

He said the council is balancing the needs of industry with the rights of residents to have a reasonable degree of peace and quiet.

Firth Rixson Group's chief financial officer, Peter Bland, said: "We will do everything we can to avoid closure, but this is a terrible blow to the area, to high technology manufacturing in the UK, and to other businesses within the Darley Dale community."

An order imposing hours-of-operation restrictions was issued by Chesterfield magistrates on 10 February. Under the orders, it must stop production after 1930 GMT on weekdays within six months.

The company now plans to take the decision to uphold the noise abatement notice to appeal in the crown court.

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