Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5460 - 5479)

  5460. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, I do have Mr Taylor here to deal with noise. If the Committee would be assisted by noise evidence I am more than happy to call him. I do not think there is any disagreement about the assessments, and they are set out in the report which is in your Lordships' pack.

  5461. CHAIRMAN: I know. I am just wondering if Ms Singleton has any questions about this.

  5462. MS LIEVEN: Perhaps I should call Mr Taylor. Then we can see whether anyone wants to ask questions.

  5463. CHAIRMAN: Yes. Ms Singleton, Mr Thornely-Taylor is a very substantial noise expert and he has been giving evidence to us before. If you have questions about noise, I am sure he will do his very best to answer them.


  5464. MS SINGLETON: Although there has been a study and I have been given a very comprehensive document about which buildings or flats would be affected by noise and therefore which ones will get extra insulation, we have found in Kempton Court that noise does shift around quite a lot. Noise hardly heard in one part of the court seems to be absolutely exaggerated in another part. For instance, there is some work going on at the moment at the London Hospital, with banging on metal, and you can walk around and hear it hardly at all in one part but very loudly in another. I am wondering whether the noise studies take this sort of thing into account.

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) The noise studies which were done for the Environmental Statement of course could not know exactly which pieces of plant would be used in exactly which location, and this process will be repeated when the time comes for the contractor to make his application for consent under section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1964. In that process the method of predicting the noise levels will be capable of taking into account precisely the pieces of plant he intends and exactly the locations where they will be positioned and, thereby, the effects of structures and buildings which have a noise screening effect and to which Ms Singleton refers will be taken into account. These very local effects of moving from one place to another will come through in the predictions.

  5465. CHAIRMAN: And also the reflection of noise off walls in places where you otherwise would not expect it to get.

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes, my Lord Chairman. That is provided for in the prediction methodology.

  5466. CHAIRMAN: It cannot be done now, Ms Singleton, that is the trouble, but it will be. Is this right, Mr Thornely-Taylor, it will be the basis of the insulation and other mitigating measures that are going to be on offer when it comes to the point?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) That is right. The Environmental Statement gives an indication of the likely extent of eligibility, and, indeed, it remains likely, but when the time comes to go into more detail it is quite possible that additional facades will become eligible according to the precise methods of working that the contractors intend to use when the time comes.

  5467. MS SINGLETON: If, in fact, although the predictions are quite accurate, there was an unexpected amount of noise in one particular place, would it then be accepted that that flat should have extra noise insulation?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) The first thing I have to say is should that happen, if it was due to an activity that was not covered by the section 61 consent it is quite likely an offence would have occurred because once a contractor has received a consent, if he does something that is outside the description of the methods of working that he has been given and have been approved he has committed an offence. However, these things do happen and the jails are not full of contractors. If there was an event which caused a local noise problem, clearly investigations into the reason for it would be carried out and whatever went wrong would be put right.

  5468. CHAIRMAN: That presumably is not just a matter for the criminal courts, it is a matter for management, is it not?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) Of course. Indeed, my Lord, there have been one or two major cases that have gone to the courts, but in general it is a question of management by the nominated undertaker as well as by the contractor himself and by the local authority to make sure that the work is carried out in the manner that has been approved.

  5469. That would be set in motion by a complaint to a one-stop shop?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) I hope not. Monitoring is a key part of management of environmental impacts in general and noise and vibration in particular. We are only talking about an event unforeseen, possibly of an accidental nature, which causes a noise complaint and which could not reasonably have been foreseen. Generally speaking, the success of the contractor in carrying out the obligations placed on him is monitored through continuous measurement of noise, continuous measurement of vibration. When complaints occur, something unexpected has happened.

  5470. MS SINGLETON: I have one other question and I realise I did not mention it. I believe starting next year there will be work on major shifting of utilities and this will be particularly on the west side of Durward Street and, as I understand, in Whitechapel Road itself. I am just wondering what the noise levels would be for that and who would it particularly affect?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) The utilities works have been assessed and they are subject to all the same considerations that apply to the main works that I have been describing. They tend to be of shorter duration, less major works, but, nevertheless, the same processes I have described apply.

  5471. MS SINGLETON: Thank you.

  5472. CHAIRMAN: They all have the same section 61 control, yes?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) They do indeed, my Lord, yes.

  5473. LORD SNAPE: Mr Thornely-Taylor, a clarification please with regard to the similarity or divergence of noise and vibration. I used to live in a house and the block was known as "Alhambra House" which was sitting above the Northern Line. That was a 12-storey building on which it was always expected we would have a lot of noise. We had hardly any noise but an enormous amount of vibration. Fortunately, for the rest of us it all ended up in Lord Archer's flat on the top and the rest of us were left free of it, but it was extremely prevalent up there. I am wondering whether the questions that have been put to you draw sufficiently the distinction between the inconvenience that may be caused by vibration rather than by noise here? The concentration has been on noise and it might well appear, as we had, it is more vibration without the noise.

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) The comments I have just been making, my Lord, were of course directed at construction impacts, hence my reference to vibration. I think your reference to the Northern Line was to the operation of the Northern Line.

  5474. It was because of a comment that was made by Ms Singleton in her introductory remarks to the effect that shafts were going down into an area of these stations and this would lead to noise or vibration coming through but she has not returned to that point, but I have remembered it from the outset.

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes, it is quite true that construction work for Crossrail at Whitechapel will involve quite close proximity between the station tunnels and, for example, the piles at Kempton Court. That is taken into account in a process that will be carried out to predict operational noise and vibration from the operating Crossrail railway in terms of the levels received in the residential parts of Kempton Court. If the levels which are set out in Information Paper D10 should be predicted to be exceeded, then an enhanced form of track support will be installed. We generally talk in terms of floating track slab but there are other forms of enhanced vibration and noise isolation for the operating railway, so there is no question of significant effect occurring at this location but there may be a requirement for an enhanced track form to ensure that.

  5475. That will not become apparent until much later in the process?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) The detailed design takes place later in the process, yes, my Lord.

  5476. CHAIRMAN: Anything further?

  5477. MS LIEVEN: No, my Lord.

  5478. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr Thornely-Taylor. I do not think I can have people from the back of the room wanting to chip in at this stage. I am so sorry, who are you?

  5479. MS PEDRETTI: Annetta Pedretti. In terms of the lorries—

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008