Stirling Council Press Release on Enforcement Action Against Railway Noise and Vibration

Press Release issued  by Danny Gibson Environment Convener, Stirling Council

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For immediate release

Stirling Council officers are now taking further action to implement the instruction from Council that there is to be further engagement with and enforcement action against Network Rail and freight operators who use the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine (SAK) railway line.  The Council instructed this action in response to long-running concerns about disruption raised by local residents.

The notice which will be served relates to the noise and vibration caused particularly by freight trains using it during night time hours.

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Noise Pollution Manifesto

MANIFESTO DRAFT
by Noise Vibration Action Group
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1 It is a fundamental human right of individuals, communities, cities and nations that they be able to live without the blight of noise pollution.

2 Noise pollution must be controlled to levels that:
•Do not harm health
•That allow normal functioning, well being and development
•That allow adequate duration and quality of sleep (8 hrs adult , 10-12 hrs children)

3 The ‘polluter pays principle’ should be upheld at all times, ie those responsible for creating or who benefit from the process that generates the pollution should bear the cost of taking measures to address it.

4 The ‘precautionary principle’ should be upheld, ie where there is reason to believe that noise or vibration might be harmful, the onus is on those who generate such emissions to prove, with independent verification, that the levels are not harmful or detrimental to health, well-being or sleep.

5 The public should be made aware of the risks from noise pollution through public health bodies and health and well being media outlets.

6 Medical professionals and environmental regulators should be educated on the risks, symptoms and illnesses that result from noise pollution and of the exposure levels at which these occur.

7 Bodies responsible for environmental standards
or quality of life should act in an effective and timeous manner to ensure these are achieved.

8 Inadequate resources such as insufficient staffing, funding or legislative powers may result in an organization or individual being unable to fulfill their role in regulating or addressing issues of noise pollution or vibration. Where this is the case, all persons responsible must formally notify pertinent senior persons or bodies, including the government and health organizations, of their inability to act effectively and the consequences for the affected population.

9 Legal action must be taken wherever possible against individuals or organizations whose actions or failure to act (such as neglect of duty to monitor or regulate), result in the emission of noise pollution that is prejudicial to health, undermine well-being or breach human rights.

10 Vested interests such as persons whose activities, membership, employment are related to the generation of noise pollution should not have any representation on committees, boards or advisory groups whose role is to maintain health, protect the environment or represent the interests of the community who may be subjected to the noise pollution.

11 Impartiality of data and advice or other expertise is essential. This necessitates that consultants or experts who act in the interests of clients who produce noise pollution are not at any point employed in the regulation or assessment of noise pollution, or the development of standards or policies.¹

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Why this manifesto?Noise pollution has a highly negative impact on humans and other organisms and causes significant harm to the natural and social environment. Those against it are asked to distribute this manifesto and, wherever possible, to raise awareness, take action or make representation to reduce or eliminate this pollution both for themselves and for others

Definition: Noise pollution is any noise or vibration, audible or inaudible (eg infra sound) , that is introduced by artificial means into the environment that causes harm, discomfort, .

Background: Noise pollution is widespread and increasing and is being generated in the name of ‘progress’ and to serve commercial priorities. The impact includes heart disease, high blood pressure, tinnitus, stress-related illnesses, developmental problems in children and, through sleep deprivation, lower immunity, obesity, inflammation of joints, aggression, deterioration in judgement, coordination and reaction time, inability to memorize, increased susceptibility to accidents. Advised limits, including exposure-dose response relationships have been documented in World Health Organization publications in 1995, 1999, 2005, 2009, 2011. These are based on peer-reviewed studies and give increasingly adamant warnings of the need for controlling this pollution.

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BBC Reports on Freight Train Misery

BBC Reports on UK Rail Problem

BBC Scotland has reported on the issue of the SAK railway line and the six year problem of getting a decent night’s sleep. Broadcast on BBC’s evening news on the 12th Feb 2015, it includes footage of DB Shenker (DB Bahn) freight, accounts of the experience of lineside residents, actions being taken by the Council, statements from Network Rail shots along the line, a line whose mitigation was advised by global Consultants AECOM. Link to news item: Freight . . . by Day and by Night

http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-31428051

Network Rail was quoted as saying:

Parameters

However, typical noise levels at bedroom windows based on the official 2009 Noise Assessment were

80dBlamax

This is 20dB higher and four times louder than the 60dB night noise maximum advised by the World Health Organization.

Network Rail’s CEO, Mark Carne, is invited to respond to three questions later in this post. In a further post we intend to ask the global consultants AECOM about their involvement in the non-allocation of night noise mitigation.

Network Rail also stated in the BBC news item that:

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Richard Price, CEO of ORR, on Residential Railway Noise, Vibration and Sustainability

Context: NVAG Posted an Article on Railways’s 3Rs, Roles, Regulations an Responsibilities an article that concluded with an open letter to Richard Price, CEO of the Office of Rail Regulation.

Richard Price, CEO of ORR,  Responded as Follows (also available as a PDF file from ORR’s website):

Dear Mr McIver,

6 February 2015

SUSTAINABILITY, NOISE AND VIBRATION

Thank you for your open letter of 21 January regarding noise and vibration
from railway operations.

As well as having led work on the economics of sustainable development, I
live next to the railway myself, so I fully understand your concerns and the
importance of this issue. It really matters, and affects the quality of people’s
lives. I also recognise that the legal framework for the oversight and
enforcement of noise and vibration levels on the railways is not
straightforward – so let me try to set out the different responsibilities clearly.

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Railway’s 3Rs- Roles, Regulation, Responsibility.

UPDATE
The Office of rail regulation responded to this article as follows.
‘Thanks for your letter and blog post: understand your points and will reply soon.@railregulation
The response will be posted on NVAG. END OF UPDATE

Roles- Who Regulates Noise Pollution& Vibration Emitted by UK Railways?

Is it Richard Price, CEO of the UK Office of Rail Regulation? Or the team of ORR executive directors listed here.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), and sustainability are high profile for any organization of good standing. For a publicly-funded body, a body responsible to government and public, a body that regulates national infrastructure, one would have thought CSR and sustainability would be the bread and butter of what they do. On the basis that ORR and the rail operators should act in a socially responsible manner, have a look at this ORR infographic of Network Rail targets for 2019 (this graphic was produced by ORR, not NVAG).

Anything Missing ?
There’s plenty in the infographic on increasing capacity, improving the network, reliable trains, maintenance, cutting costs . . . but what about CSR and sustainability?

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Pollution Solutions-Noise, Vibration, HS2

After the Damning Report on Rail Noise & Vibration . . .

Network Rail have been sent a copy of the report that documents the high night rail noise and vibration levels recorded by consultants, Sandy Brown Associates. The report concludes that such exposure constitutes a statutory nuisance.
Network Rail run the UK rail network and claim in their sustainability policy that they manage noise and vibration. Currently their management system has seen night noise one metre outside bedroom windows reach levels eight times louder than the maximum advised by the World Health Organization.

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Network Rail and Babcock Rail at site

All Change?
Perhaps change is in the air.

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BBC Want to Report on Stirling Alloa Kincardine Rail Issue

Email from BBC:

Hello,
I’m working on a TV report for BBC Scotland News on the noise problems faced by people living alongside the SAK route and I was wondering if you could put me in touch with someone please? Ideally it would be someone willing to do a TV interview at home explaining the problems caused by the freight noise at night, if they would be willing to record the noise on a phone for us that would be really helpful. If you know of anyone who would be interested in doing this please let me know and I’ll talk it through with them in greater detail.
All the best
Yana Thandrayen |Producer

BBC Scotland News

Anyone interested please contact us via our contact page