A PIERCING high pitch whistling noise at the newly commissioned £400 million Runcorn waste incinerator has incensed residents living near the plant.

People said the incessant sound kept them awake at night.

One resident said: “We’re fed up with it and feel we shouldn’t have to endure this.”

Another person added: “This awful noise is driving me mad. I have complained to all the authorities.”

A spokesman for Viridor, the company running the energy from waste plant, said: “We can confirm that the Runcorn Energy from Waste facility received around 20 separate complaints from local residents about what was described as a high pitch whistling noise in the vicinity of Weston Point.

“Following investigation, the principal construction contractor Keppel Seghers identified the source of the noise as being high pressure steam being released due to a damaged relief valve. A repair is now being progressed and the process will not be restarted until the company is satisfied that the repair has been successful.

“The Environment Agency and Halton Council have been kept fully informed throughout this process.”

Roy Griffin, general manager for the Runcorn Energy from Waste facility added: "There were no safety concerns as a result of the damaged valve.

“We do however apologise for the disturbance the noise caused and would like to assure the local community that this is not normal operation for the energy from waste facility, which is still in its commissioning phase.

“We would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding whilst we addressed this matter."