Royal Navy's 'noisy' carrier HMS Prince of Wales leaves tired Gosport residents 'sleeping with pillows over their heads'
WEARY residents living opposite the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier have hit out over the £3.1bn warship’s ‘noisy’ engines, claiming it is leaving them with ‘sleepless nights’.
Exhausted harbourside homeowners in Gosport are being forced to sleep with ‘pillows over their heads’ due to the ‘incessant’ whirring drone of the HMS Prince of Wales’s diesel generators.
The 65,000-tonne ship is currently alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base and would ordinarily be hooked up to a land-based power supply 24/7.
However, the navy is carrying out trials with a new power plant which means the ship occasionally relies on her own generators to keep the lights on.
Officials from Senior Service insisted the ship’s generators were used for the ‘minimal amount of time necessary’, with a navy source claiming this to have been a handful of times since the carrier first arrived in Portsmouth in November.
But annoyed residents claimed the noise has been constant since the ship returned to the city at the end of last month and was becoming tough to bear.
Neil Sutton, who has lived with his family in Flagstaff Green on the old Royal Clarence Yard site since 2016, said it had never been noisier.
‘No resident, in this long stretch of waterfront, can escape the sound of this ship, particularly at night time,’ the 59-year-old said.
‘In this time of national crisis and forced lock down, when people are supporting the country and the NHS by staying at home in our flats and houses, why can we not open our windows and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the moment?
‘Instead, for many of us, we are forced to close our windows at night or stick our heads under our pillows and during the day, instead of enjoying the new pleasure of silence and the new experience of unpolluted fresh air, we are bombarded by the noise and pollution of HMS Prince of Wales.’
A councillor has since called on the navy to look at the problem, while urging affected residents to flag the issue up with environmental health inspectors.
Christchurch Ward councillor Dawn Kelly told The News she could hear the carriers from her home in Kings Road.
She added: ‘For those living in Clarence Yard the sound must be even louder as it gets reverberated around the square there.
‘So I do think the residents have a valid complaint and I have urged them to approach environmental health.
‘However, I think at the moment with how quiet the town is it may be making it sound a whole lot worse.
‘But if the navy could do something to quieten the noise from the ship, that would be very welcomed.’
It is navy policy to provide shore power to all vessels alongside whenever possible.
The Ministry of Defence has pumped in more than £200m to overhaul the naval base’s infrastructure to support the nation’s two, vast aircraft carriers – including a new power plant to supply them with electricity.
A Royal Navy spokesman added: ‘The carriers and the power plant remain on initial trials, and there will be occasions when the ships will need to use their own generators. These periods are always for the minimum amount of time necessary.’