Tagged: environment

AECOM face Ethical, Human Rights, Professional Standards Questions

Who are AECOM?

AECOM describes itself as a global provider of professional technical and management support services in markets that include: transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With headquarters in Los Angeles, California, United States and clients in more than 150 countries, AECOM reported a revenue of US$8.0 billion for the year ended March 31, 2014.

PERSONS RUNNING THE COMPANY:
John M. Dionisio  chairman and on Board of Directors.
Michael S. Burke- chairman and CEO.
Stephen M. Kadenacy-chief financial officer and president.
Kevin Lynch executive vice president and chief strategy officer
Carla Christofferson– executive vice president and general counsel.

AECOM HAVE BEEN SENT THE FOLLOWING LETTER

CONTEXT
I understand that AECOM has high environmental and ethical standards. However, as with any large corporation, things can, in certain sectors or situations go awry. I trust that AECOM, in keeping with its reputation, seeks to resolve occurrences such as the one outlined here involving as it does: Human Rights, public health, professional standards, ethics.

SUBJECT AREAS
The situation concerns:
•exposure of the public to high levels of noise pollution 
•environment
•public health
•human rights
•presentation of misleading information on health impact of noise pollution
•provision of advice in areas outside AECOM’s expertise
•the ad hoc creation of exposure criteria not approved by any competent health authority
•deviation from AECOM’s own stated role in the project
•advising that non-health based standards that were 30yrs old and that do not appear in the ES should be used rather than the health-based modern standards specified in the Environmental Statement for the project. 
•allocating night noise mitigation based on 30yr old standards that had not been approved in the official process.
•making unsubstantiated and irrational claims- noise of unlimited loudness, if limited to two occurrences per hour, is conducive to undisturbed sleep. 

SECTOR
AECOM provided consultancy services, carried out noise and vibration assessments for the reopened Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine railway, and generated subsequent reports, as required by the Environmental Statement for the development. This included advice on the provision of mitigation and advice on allocating  mitigation in compliance with commitments made in the ES.

The geographical location is Scotland.

EVIDENCE 
Documentation obtained by FOI requests and other measures is held for all of the above.

REQUEST 
I would be pleased if you would provide a contact person who will address this complaint and to advise on your formal complaints process.

RESPONSE FROM AECOM -NIL
So far, AECOM have been contacted five times. They have yet to respond to this letter. The AECOM website contact form was completed twice, they have been emailed, they have been contacted via twitter @AECOM twice. The only response has come via twitter once advising of an email address to use, once saying that an email had been received. No formal acknowledgment or reply has been received for the letter quoted above.

THE FUTURE OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, CSR

If AECOM wants to be recognized as an ethical, sustainable, socially responsible company, then it has to be honest: that means not just publicising accomplishments but acknowledging and tackling it’s failings. We have seen VW’s reputation collapse primarily due to failure of standards. The consequences are massive and may cripple the company. VW are now seeking whistleblowers to expose the extent of the problem. AECOM’s senior personnel, CEOs, president, the board of directors, are ultimately responsible for the standards within their own corporation. As such, they have a key role in rooting out malpractice or failings wherever and whenever such arise. We look forwards to AECOM fully addressing not just the pollution, ethics, human rights, professional standards issue, but the apparent reluctance of personnel at corporate communication level to even acknowledge notification of this problem.

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Council to Act to Protect Residents from Railway Pollution

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.

Stirling Council to act over noise and vibration from Railway

Stirling King Street, NetworkRail line, DB Shenker freight

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’

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Noise Pollution Manifesto

MANIFESTO DRAFT
by Noise Vibration Action Group
image

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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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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Environmental Complaint Form

The previous link to the environmental pollution action request form stopped working and has been replaced with the link below. Click on the link at the bottom of this page and your computer will download a UK Environmental Health complaint form in PDF format for you to fill in and send to your local Council.
The form asks the Council to:
• investigate your complaint
.•decide if the pollution is a statutory nuisance
•if so, to serve an abatement order
•to inform you of decisions and outcomes

Please do not worry about filling in all of the areas. They essential parts are to tell the council the type of pollution (noise, vibration etc), the source (trains), and to give your name address. The rest is all optional.
Forms should be sent/handed in to the Council Environmental Health Department.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/faedyp215mpxa0c/application%20form%20for%20environmental%20protection-UK-Gen-Council-v2.pdf