Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 5520 - 5539)

  5520. MS LIEVEN: My Lord, to some degree there already is inasmuch as I know that at least two of the people behind me have already been speaking regularly to London Underground about works going on for the East London Line at Whitechapel. The overlap will be in respect of our utilities works which are anticipated to start next year, 2009, and the East London Line works will not have finished by then. There is no overlap in terms of works sites because the utility works are carried out in Durward Street, but there will be an overlap for that period. Once our main works start the East London Line project is finished and is out of the site. I think Ms Singleton is entirely accurate to say that Kempton Court will face in total something in the vicinity of ten years of railway construction in their area. So far as the overlap period is concerned, we will certainly work closely with Transport for London and we will have to do so because we cannot be blocking Durward Street at a point when they are trying to get lorries into Essex Wharf. Can I say in terms of information that we already have a system of producing information flyers, leaflets, for local residents, and as soon as we have any information on, for instance, the date that utility works will start we will give that to the local residents through that leafleting system. We are fully committed to a full and complete level of information to local residents. As I say, so far as co-ordinating with Transport for London is concerned, we are talking to them all the time and we will certainly be doing so once the utilities works are in closer anticipation.

  5521. CHAIRMAN: I do not want to find that a Kempton Court resident goes into the one-stop-shop and says, "There is a major noise going on at the moment", and they are told, "Oh, well, it is nothing to do with Crossrail. It is Transport for London and the East London Line". You know all too well, I am sure, from your own experience the way that it is always somebody else's fault.

  5522. MS LIEVEN: Yes, my Lord. That particular form of buck-passing is unlikely to happen here because the overlap, as I said, will be between the utilities work on Durward Street and the construction work on the East London Line which is going on on the tracks down on Essex Wharf and further north up to Bishopsgate goods yard. It will be completely obvious as to which the noise source is: is it a man digging outside my front window digging up the electric lines, or is it a man down on the embankment of the East London Line which will be totally physically different and also different types of work? In that respect there is unlikely to be the kind of passing of the buck which your Lordship is quite right, does quite often happen. What I cannot say is whether or not, once the main works site and somebody in Kempton Court hears a nasty noise out of their window, it is a nasty noise coming off the Royal London site on the other side of the road or it might be us, so we cannot say we will always know it is us, but I think the reality is that for the construction period of Crossrail it will be pretty obvious that the noise impact on Kempton Court is coming from Crossrail in the majority of circumstances. I cannot sign an absolute guarantee.

  5523. CHAIRMAN: I am just trying to make sure that when it is not Crossrail the people who come to find out about it and to say that it is intolerable or whatever are not going to be sent away because it is not Crossrail.

  5524. MS LIEVEN: I am absolutely sure that if people come into the one-stop-shop and say that they have been kept up during the night and the contractors' employees think that it is nothing to do with Crossrail, they will tell people, "That is noise from -" and the only other large works site I can think of is the Royal London—"the Royal London", and the one-stop-shop will do what it can to put people in contact with the right contractors. That would be good practice and I will take instructions but I am sure that is what would happen in practice. That is what would happen, for example, on Channel Tunnel Rail Link where some of the people who are working with us on these issues previously worked on Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Obviously, again, if you have got two construction sites, then good practice is that if it is the other one, you put people in touch with the right people. It is in everybody's interests.

  5525. BARONESS FOOKES: It does not always happen, does it?

  5526. MS LIEVEN: My Lady, as I am sure any Member of Parliament knows better than I, one cannot legislate for individuals in every circumstance, but we have very well set out and well thought out policies on these issues, and we have relied very heavily on the precedent of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which in the main was a very successful project in this respect. I cannot say it will happen because I cannot know what individuals will do in seven years' time, but I can say to your Ladyship that there are well set out policies which we are fully committed to implementing and which have proved in the past to be in the main successful, which is, I would suggest, the best we can do in this situation.

  5527. BARONESS FOOKES: But we do not want to be a case of hope over experience.

  5528. MS LIEVEN: No, but I would suggest that we are a case of experience because central London has gone through the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project very recently. Many of the staff from then have become our staff and we have learned from what has been a good experience and we have every commitment to making it a better experience. We are basing ourselves on a good experience.

  5529. BARONESS FOOKES: I hope the Petitioners are listening to that and will act accordingly.

  5530. CHAIRMAN: The other thing, Ms Singleton, is that all this will be down in the transcript of today's proceedings, so you can go into the one-stop-shop waving the papers and say, "That is what they said they would do".

  5531. MS SINGLETON: Thank you; good idea.

  5532. CHAIRMAN: And you could not complain about that, Ms Lieven, could you?

  5533. MS LIEVEN: I certainly could not and I am sure those behind me would not complain about it.

  5534. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. That is all you wanted to say, Ms Singleton, was it?

  5535. MS SINGLETON: Yes, that is right.

  5536. CHAIRMAN: We are very grateful to you. I think perhaps I will adjourn formally now until tomorrow morning at ten.

  5537. MS LIEVEN: It may be worth my telling your Lordship that I think we did have Mintel tomorrow but they have settled, so they are not attending. Mintel have gone. Havering I think have agreed the principal point. I think they may still be turning up to mention it—they are coming to make a statement, but on the only outstanding point of concern, I understand, to be agreed, and then you have two Petitioners left over from last week, Patricia Jones and Khoodeelaar!. Whether they attend and in what circumstances, my Lord, I cannot comment on.

  5538. CHAIRMAN: The local authorities are all going to tell us about the generic issues that they have been dealing with; is that not right?

  5539. MS LIEVEN: They are, but I understand them to be agreed, so I think they are going to tell you in short compass. Kensington & Chelsea and Brentwood are supporting Havering, so it is only Havering who are going to come and they are, I think, going to make a short statement about fixed installation noise.

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