Following Legal Advice, Stirling Council is to Take Enforcement Action on Rail Noise and Vibration
Stirling Council is to come to the rescue of line side residents who, following the opening of the SAK Railway line in 2008, have been left with broken promises and high levels of noise and vibration.
A report commissioned by the Council in late 2014 found that night time noise levels outside resident’s homes constituted a statutory nuisance and that vibration levels at some properties was excessive. Network Rail and the freight operators have continued to run heavy night freight despite pleas, complaints and even written requests from the Scottish Parliament in attempts find a solution.
Now, thanks to the support of elected politicians, there is hope that enforcement orders will protect the health and well being of those affected by these forms of railway pollution.
Protecting the Heart of Scotland
Stirling, due to its central position and strong transport connections, is considered by many to be ‘the heart of Scotland’
[pink banner in photo]. Chronic noise exposure causes stress related illnesses such as ischemic heart disease and high blood pressure. It seems fitting that the local Council are taking steps to protect both the geographical and the physiological heart(s) of Scotland. By protecting the area from this form of pollution, they also protect residents from increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Appropriately, in the photo (just a few yards from the Council offices), stands a statue of William Wallace — defender of the common man.
Network Rail & ORR Seem to Rely on Council Enforcement to Make them Act in Socially Responsible Manner
Corporate social responsibility or CSR, is considered to be an essential in the business community. In response to a freedom of information request, Network Rail, NR, stated that they don’t generally monitor noise and vibration. Neither, apparently, does NR set standards or limits for residential exposure to operational noise or vibration. In fact, NR say that local Councils have responsibility for controlling pollution levels through the powers they have under the Environmental Protection Act, EPA-1990.
The Office of Rail Regulation, ORR, also indicated EPA-1990 as being the relevant legislation and Council action as being the means of providing environmental protection for residents. ORR don’t regulate the environmental impact and seem content for NR to provide them with a sustainability policy (see letter from Richard Price in this blog).
DB Shenker, the main freight hauler on this line and a subsidiary of the German-based corporation DB Bahn, a company that claims to be ‘environmental pioneers’ has still to respond to questions about their 90dB noise level locomotives and high vibration wagons carrying coal up and down the line.
Stirling Council Statements & Minutes.
A press release by Stirling Council has been posted on this site.
The Council minutes record that Council will be “keeping the original petitioners and local residents advised” and that they will “instruct further engagement with and enforcement action against Network Rail and the freight operators to be taken in parallel.”(Reference: Report by Director of Corporate Operations, dated 21 May 2015, submitted) To Engage With & Take Enforcement Action Against Network Rail & Freight Operators.