Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12040
12040. CHAIRMAN: There are steps in the
middle too, are there not, somewhere?
12041. MS LIEVEN: There are one or two
steps in the middle which will be removed by the works that we
are carrying out, so it will be an entirely step-free route across.
The Residents' Association now return to this Committee to ask
that we rebuild the entire bridge in order to widen it, remove
any sight-line difficulties and wholly reprovide it. I am afraid,
my Lords, that that is the point that we stick at because really
what is going on here is a request to do work that has nothing
to do with Crossrail. Actually for the operation of the railway,
we only have to do this relatively minor work at the north side.
It is not our responsibility to rebuild this entire bridge. The
bridge belongs to Network Rail and falls within the area of Westminster
City Council. The fact that Crossrail need to do a little bit
of work to the north side, in our view, plainly does not justify
requiring us to rebuild the entire thing. It is also important
to note that rebuilding this bridge would be a very major enterprise,
as Mr Berryman will explain to you, because it goes all the way
across the tracks, it would involve extensive reconstruction and
extensive possessions, so it is our case that it is not our responsibility,
it is not justified here and we are already doing everything that
could possibly be required of us by providing the disabled access
on the south side.
12042. I move then to the second principal topic
which is that of the batching plant and, if we can
12043. LADY BRIGHT: Excuse me, but on
the batching plant, we are not going to bring any new evidence
along, so it is not really a primary topic. Does that help you?
12044. MS LIEVEN: I will just say a tiny
bit, but I will keep it short, Lady Bright, so thank you for that.
The batching plant, if we can have 027 up, the Committee will
remember from yesterday that I explained that there is an existing
batching plant in here and it has to be rebuilt for the Crossrail
works in order to allow the tracks in. There is going to be an
interim or temporary batching plant that will have to be road-served
and then there will be a permanent replacement batching plant.
The batching plant now is, and the permanent batching plant will
be, rail-served which is critically important in order to minimise
lorries on the route, and a process has been agreed with Westminster
to attach conditions to the replacement batching plants. If I
can just say in opening and come back to this in more detail in
closing, depending on what Lady Bright's evidence is, the provision
of the new batching plant will be a significant benefit to residents
in terms of noise from the batching plant for a number of reasons.
First of all, it will be a new construction, so it will be built
to modern standards which will provide considerable mitigation
in terms of noise and dust over the existing situation. Secondly,
it will be subject to conditions, whereas the existing plant is
largely not subject to conditions because it has been there for
so long. Thirdly, and Mr Berryman is going to explain this in
detail because I get a little lost at this point, there will be
a benefit because the trains getting into the batching plant will
not need to go so far east any longer, so the noise on some of
the properties on Westbourne Park Villas further to the east will
diminish from the trains because, it is fair to say, it is the
train noise which is a major part of the current problems with
the batching plant because the trains often have to come in in
the middle of the night because that is the only time they can
get the train paths.
12045. CHAIRMAN: And they are of course
12046. MS LIEVEN: And they are diesel
engines and I think they are relatively noisy diesel engines at
that. Overall, we believe there will be a considerable benefit
from the scheme just in terms of the batching plant.
12047. The third issue is the noise barrier.
The residents have asked that a noise barrier be constructed along
Westbourne Park Villas to protect them from noise from the railway.
Now, it is correct to say, as anybody who came on the site visit
will know, that there is a considerable amount of noise at this
location already both from the operation of the railway, nothing
to do with Crossrail, and from the Westway which is up here (indicating).
Now, as far as Crossrail's contribution is concerned, it will
be relatively slight. The trains will be new and will replace
older and noisier trains, and they are also a considerable distance
from the residential properties; they are right on the far side
of the tracks, so the Crossrail trains come in here (indicating)
on the north side of the tracks obviously as far away as possible
from the residents.
12048. It is true to say that, since the Environmental
Statement was done, the noise environment from the railway has
changed in this location, very recently in fact, because of the
replacement of old engines on the high-speed trains to a newer
engine which is considerably quieter. What that means is that,
when the next stage of assessment is carried out for noise insulation
for these properties, that may turn up more properties being eligible
for noise insulation. That work has not been done yet in accordance
with our policies and our processes, but it may be that, because
the background noise has fallen, the contribution of Crossrail
is proportionately higher and there may be greater eligibility.
That is something that we will assess in accordance with our policies
and, in particular, in accordance with IPD26.
12049. However, what we are entirely clear about
is that a noise barrier along Westbourne Park Villas would be
wholly inappropriate. The Committee will remember, and I am just
trying to find a photograph, that there is a large brick wall
along Westbourne Park at the moment and, to construct a noise
barrier which had any effect, it would be necessary to build above
this wall a higher structure because the Committee will be aware
that, in order for a noise barrier to work, you have got to be
between the line of sight of the noise source and the place you
are trying to protect, so we would be talking about a very large
structure which would be extremely difficult to construct, extremely
both expensive and also disruptive to construct and which would
have a very major impact on the visual amenity of this location.
Obviously we have not gone into the detail of how you would plan
it, but it is in a Conservation Area and it does not need much
imagination to imagine what sticking a wall, even if it was a
nice Perspex, wavy, foreign one on top, would do to this particular
part of the Conservation Area.
12050. CHAIRMAN: Is that Network Rail's
12051. MS LIEVEN: It is Network Rail's
wall, my Lord, yes, and, I would assume, Westminster City Council's
12052. CHAIRMAN: I am sure it is.
12053. MS LIEVEN: One of the things that
Mr Berryman will tell you about is that any wall that high will
need very substantial foundations and they would either have to
go into the pavement or they would have to go on to the railway
side, in which case they will have a serious impact on the railway,
so we are not talking about something simple here. I will leave
it there and hear what Lady Bright says, but Mr Berryman is ready
to give detailed evidence on the wall. My Lords, I hope I have
covered what, I think, are the main issues, but there may be others
that we need to deal with in evidence.
12054. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: If
I could just ask a question on the last point, did you say that,
when you come to make an assessment in the light of the changes
in the sound coming from the new locomotives and Crossrail coming
in, it is possible that you might still have to do it?
12055. MS LIEVEN: Might still have to
do the wall?
12056. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Yes.
12057. MS LIEVEN: No, my Lord. The assessment
would be for noise insulation in the houses, so double-glazing
effectively is what is being assessed. No, there is no possibility
of us doing the wall. You might, in another location with a different
set of problems, put in a noise barrier. I think at Shenfield
we are assuming that some noise barriers will go in because there
it is a simple, straightforward operation and you can mitigate
the noise at source in that way, but here that is just not an
appropriate solution, in our view.
12058. LORD SNAPE: I have one other question
before you sit down, Ms Lieven. The bus garageis that going
to be moved when Crossrail comes into operation?
12059. MS LIEVEN: My Lords, I am sorry,
I have misled the Committee. Can we go back to 027? The bus garage
is here and there is hard standing parking underneath here where
we went down on the site visit. The bus garage stays and the bus
park moves during the duration of the works. We have reached agreement
with the bus operating company as to the process of the move.
5 Crossrail Ref: P79; Brick wall between road and
tracks showing diagonal cracks (WESTCC-40-_04-023) Back