Why the mystery of the Holmfield Hum may never be solved

The infamous Holmfield Hum – a noise which has plagued some residents of Halifax for some years – remains a mystery and may have more than one source.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 9:10 am

The noise, which is heard by some residents of Holmfield but not others, has badly affected the health of those who can, and the findings of a recent report into the issue will be released to complainants in the next few weeks, Calderdale councillors heard.

Councillors have been told that despite efforts made to hear and detect the source since the matter was first reported, all reasonable lines of inquiry have been exhausted.

But council officers’ findings are being checked by an independent noise consultant and those concerned kept informed of the results and what happens next.

Residents who have been plagued by the Holmfield Hum

Councillor Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), cabinet member for public Services and communities, summarised the latest situation answering a question posed by Nikki Kelly in the public question time section of a meeting of the full Calderdale Council.

Ms Kelly, who stood for the Conservatives in May’s local elections, said that on July 8 the council’s Environmental Health team had received a report from a private contractor with findings regarding the Holmfield Hum, but to date these had not been shared with residents and no further action taken.

“The situation has been ongoing for an extensive period and has severely affected the mental health of residents.

“Please can an update be provided, and what actions are to be taken in addressing the Holmfield Hum?” she said.

Coun Lynn said the case was long-standing and complex.

“The investigating officers firmly believe that they are are dealing with more than one noise from more than one source,” she said.

Coun Lynn said there is also the added layer of complexity due to the topography and make-up of the locality, which is a mix of of residential, commercial and urban environment.

Another significant challenge was that the noises being complained of were not audible to everyone, while efforts to hear and identify them had been “extensive”.

But, she said: “At this time council officers have no evidence of a statutory noise nuisance – be we do recognise that the noise being heard by some residents is impacting on the well-being of those individuals.

“Officers believe they have now exhausted all reasonable lines of inquiry to resolve the issue.”

However, given the clear impact on some residents, officers wanted to be reassured their conclusions were robust and based on best evidence and that these should be tested by an independent noise consultant, whose report had been sent to the council on July 8.

This needed to be analysed by officers, including follow-up meetings with the consultants, to be clear in respect of the findings, an important step as this would clearly drive what happens next.

Throughout the process complainants, ward councillors and Halifax MP Holly Lynch had been kept updated on progress and will be the first to know what the council does next, said Coun Lynn.

She said she had been reassured by officers the findings would be shared with te complainants, ward members for Illingworth and Mixenden and Ms Lynch no later than August 12.

“At that time officers will outline what action they intend to take next.

“In respect to making our findings public, the council can only do this when it is confident that the investigation has been concluded and that there is no likelihood that information disclosed would compromise any present or future investigation.

“However, the council is committed to being transparent and will when appropriate be open with our findings and actions to date,” said Coun Lynn.