IT has been blamed for giving Southampton residents sleepless nights.

The city’s port has recently taken flak for its part in causing traffic gridlock throughout the city.

And now residents are calling for an end to scrap metal loading at the docks claiming there is noise throughout the night and sounds “like a war zone”.

Speaking at a meeting of the Western Docks Consultation Forum, a residents’ group set up to keep an eye on traffic and environment issues in Redbridge, Millbrook and Freemantle, retired refinery worker Gary Lucas called on the council to get involved and stop the problem.

Mr Lucas, 70, of Vulcan Road, Millbrook, said: “If I made a noise in my road and the neighbours complained, the council would do something about it. The docks are my neighbours and they make horrendous noises so where do we go from here?

“I’ve spoken to the environmental health department and I was told it was a 24-hour operation and there was nothing that could be done.

“It’s been a problem on and off for three years, I’ve had to have double glazing put in and I can’t leave my windows open because it sounds like World War Three out there.”

Forum chairman Michael Clarke added: “I’ve been visited by an irate young lady saying the scrap metal makes so much noise it sounds like a war zone.”

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, responsible for traffic and the environment, said the port was sometimes a “bad neighbour” but the council had little power to silence the work.

She said: “We are a port city and that brings its positives and negatives. We can talk to the port, negotiate with them and try to influence their decisions but the dockland is not our jurisdiction.

“Some of the things the port does makes it a bad neighbour but we cannot stop these things on port land.”

The forum has launched the Scrap the Scrap Campaign and is urging local residents to log complaints whenever they are disturbed by noise from the port late at night via the council or by visiting

ABP director, Southampton, Nick Ridehalgh said the port was “committed to being a good neighbour” and tried to minimise disruption.

He said: “Recycled metals and dry bulks form an important constituent of the port’s overall business mix. “Since metal for recycling was first handled on the port estate in 2009, the management plan governing this activity has been updated as and when appropriate, as we continuously look to respond to feedback and reduce its impact.

“That is also why noise levels are monitored before, during and after every ship call for recycled metal and have an emergency number for people to contact.

“There have been 12 scrap metal ships handled at the port since January 2013, which equates to one day of activity in every 10 and we have received no complaints for the past six months.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Rayment again defended the council over the traffic problems caused by the combination of cruise ships at the port and the roadworks near dock gate four.

She said: “You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. Everyone moans about the state of the roads but we have been given a £12m Government grant to improve waterfront access to the port.

“The roadworks on their own are a pain but the end result will be great.”