Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12360
12360. Even taking a slightly different perspective
and thinking about the noise from the whole railway here, how
useful would the 1.5 metre barrier that Lady Bright was suggesting
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) The effect it would
have on the upper windows of the house in Westbourne Park Villas
would be negligible. I know in meetings that I have attended with
Lady Bright she has said that maybe we need not worry too much
about the upper windows and gain some benefit for the lower windows,
and it is true that at ground floor the existing wall gives a
noise barrier effect and if it were made slightly higher that
effect would be slightly greater, but from the point of view of
taking a strategic view of transportation noise as an issue and
the promotion of infrastructure schemes, it is not really an appropriate
approach to say, "Well, we won't protect those people because
they are too high; we will protect those people because the height
of their window is lower." For a noise barrier, which involves
major resources in engineering and financial terms, to be something
one considers as a possible measure, it needs effectively to be
an alternative to statutory noise insulation and to remove eligibility
for statutory noise insulation altogether. This is done particularly
in the case of highway schemes. If you can get rid of any eligibility
for noise insulation by building noise barriers alongside the
highway you do but, if you cannot, you end up with the worst of
both worlds which is devoting resources to a noise barrier and
still devoting resources to statutory noise insulation and increasing
the cost of mitigation without solving the problem.
12361. And moving on from there, how useful
would Lady Bright's proposal be that you build a slightly lower
noise barrier and then put on angled element on the top of it?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) The angle would actually
be counter-productive here. Lady Bright is right in principleif
our noise source were on the sidings for example, because one
of the critical things in determining the performance of a noise
barrier is the proximity of the barrier, either to the source
or to the receiver, or to both, and for a barrier to be effective
it does need to be close to one or the other. It is relatively
close to the facades of Westbourne Park Villas here but it is
not at all close to most of the railway lines and all you achieve
by canter levering the top of the barrier is moving the edge which
does the work slightly closer to the source but that would only
have an effect if the source were the sidings. Because most of
the sources are already many tens of metres away from the wall
it would actually be counter-productive because it is taking the
top of the barrier away from the facade of Westbourne Park Villas.
12362. MS LIEVEN: My Lords, I have got
a few more questions. Given that we are going to have to come
back after lunch I do not know whether this is a convenient place
12363. CHAIRMAN: We are going to have
to come back anyway. I think it probably is a good time to break.
This afternoon we have not got a great deal more except Mr Payne.
12364. MS LIEVEN: I have been passed
a note saying that SMTA do not wish to reappear.
12365. CHAIRMAN: They do not want to
12366. MS LIEVEN: So it is finishing
off the residents' association and then it is Mr Payne.
12367. CHAIRMAN: That is all going to
be Mr Thornely-Taylor anyway. I think we might as well break now.
Is it possible to come back a little bit before half past two?
Can we come back at twenty past two?
The Committee adjourned from 1.03 pm until
12368. MS LIEVEN: I have a few more questions
for Mr Taylor, but not very many at all, my Lord. First of all,
Mr Taylor, just staying on the noise barrier for the moment, there
was one question which was raised in respect of something which
I think Sir Keith Bright said. Would it make any difference in
terms of noise insulation if the existing wall were simply made
No, it would not . The existing wall is plenty thick enough to
deal with noise coming through the body of the wall. With any
noise barrier, the main feature that governs the amount of noise
reduction it gives is noise refracting over the top and, as long
as it is a minimum density and it has got no holes in it, adding
further thickness to it is of minimal benefit.
12369. The next point is the noise impact from
Crossrail on the gardens behind the Westbourne Park Villas houses.
How great would you assess that to be, in broad terms?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Well, given that
even at the windows of houses in Westbourne Park Villas which
do not have any benefit from existing noise barrier effects from
the existing wall and from other features, even there, there is
no significant contribution from Crossrail to the overall noise
climate, bearing in mind that in a garden the geometry noise barrier-wise
works in your favour because you are lower relative to the barrier
than you are the window of a house and bearing in mind that, for
many of the properties along there, the gardens are behind the
houses and the natural noise reduction that those features give
further reduces the contribution of Crossrail to the total noise
12370. Then the next and discrete point, Lord
James this morning referred to the noise from the bus garage or,
I will call it, the `hard-standing' from the buses manoeuvring
on the loose material outside the bus garage. Do you think that
is going to have any significant effect on the noise environment
in Westbourne Park Villas?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) No, I think my Lord,
Lord James's point was about the fact that the ground surface
was not hard-standing and it was broken up and covered in gravel
and, to the extent that it has an effect, that would be beneficial
in that the harder and more reflective a surface
12371. LORD JAMES OF BLACKHEATH: Mr Thornely-Taylor,
I think it is more than gravel, I think it is shale and, therefore,
it is more noisy.
Well, my Lord, the most noisy effect is to have a totally flat,
hard, reflective surface because that effectively doubles the
noise source and you have a mirror image of the noise source below
the hard, reflective surface, so anything which breaks up the
surface is actually marginally beneficial.
12372. MS LIEVEN: Then a final and discrete
topic, Mr Taylor. Sir Keith Bright made comment, and I think Lady
Bright has as well, on, and I paraphrase, everything having changed
because of a change in EU legislation. Now, can you just explain
to the Committee what the position in respect of noise in this
type of environment is now in EU legislation and how relevant
What was being referred to is generally known as the Environmental
Noise Directive which has been of course transposed into British
law. It requires a sequence of things. The first is the carrying
out of noise mapping, and we saw an example of the first of the
noise maps which was the road traffic road map which my practice
project-managed some years ago. About now, any day now, we will
see the publication of the rail noise mapwe thought actually
it would be available todaybut I do not think it has come
out which will include this area as a separate map of only rail
noise, not including road noise, and there are other maps involved
as well. That stage is just about complete. The next stage will
be for Member States' Governments to draw up noise action plans,
but they are in fact remarkably unspecific as far as the terms
of the Directive go. It is up to Member States to decide whether
they want to set noise limits and Defra has decided that it will
not set noise limits, and it is up to Member States to decide
whether noise reduction is necessary and up to them to decide
what, if anything, to do, so it is a Directive which appears to
be a major change in noise legislation, but it actually does not
necessarily have any material effect.
12373. I am asked by Mr Reuben Taylor to remind
the Committee that apparently we put in a note on the issue of
noise maps during the course of the Spitalfields Petitioners a
few weeks ago. I am afraid I do not know what it was called, but
it was on this topic. Do you recall that, Mr Taylor?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes, I do.
12374. MS LIEVEN: Those are all my questions,
Mr Taylor. Before I sit down, Lady Bright did ask me to mention
something to the Committee which I am going to do now while Mr
Taylor is in the witness box, which is in respect of Network Rail
carrying out works at this location and whether they would be
bound by the EMRs. My instructions are from Mr Berryman, who,
I think, is not here now, and I expected Lady Bright to ask Mr
Berryman about this, but she did not do so, so I am covering,
as it were, for him. In fact the majority of the works in this
location will not be carried out by Network Rail because they
are associated with the construction of the central tunnel, so
they will be carried out under that contract. To the degree that
Network Rail carry out any works in this location, where they
are works pursuant to the powers in the Crossrail Bill, then they
are fully covered by the commitments made in the environmental
minimum requirements, the EMRs. Lady Bright was keen that I said
that on the record so that it was clearly recorded. Thank you
12375. CHAIRMAN: Just before I invite
Lady Bright to ask her questions, Mr Thornely-Taylor, if and insofar
as the wall falls within the limits of deviation of this Bill
and is going to be any good for the purposes of alleviating noise,
it could no doubt be done under this and, therefore, it is an
opportunity to be grasped under this legislation because it could
be done and, therefore, we could make a recommendation about it.
Well, my Lord, engineers are often, in weak moments, heard to
say that anything can be done at a cost!
12376. They have said it several times.
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) I think my judgment
is that the cost is quite disproportionate to the benefit, given
that some of the windows will have no benefit at all and those
that do benefit, whilst there would be a noise reduction, in the
context of work that is done for major infrastructure projects
as a whole, it would be far and away the most expensive noise
barrier that I have ever encountered for the benefit that it gives.
12377. On the other hand, the other statutory
procedures which lead to double-glazing are wholly independent
of the Crossrail Bill, are they not?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) They are. They flow
from the intention to construct a new, or altered, railway and,
to the extent that the powers come from the Crossrail Act when
it passes into law, there is that connection, but it is a separate
mechanism and a separate legal provision.
12378. Therefore, it does not need us to make
any recommendations about it because, if the conditions are such
and the measurements are such that houses would qualify for double-glazing,
it would not make any difference whether it was mentioned in the
context of Crossrail because it would happen anyway?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) That is quite correct,
my Lord. There has been discussion with these Petitioners about
the timing of eligibility for statutory noise insulation for the
operating railway because the current expectation is that there
would not be eligibility for noise insulation against construction
noise, and I think the residents would like to have insulation.
Again it flows from the way the regulations are written that eligibility
for operational noise insulation has to be determined before the
start of construction of the project, and our project is so large
over such a large timescale that that will automatically again,
out of the state of the regulations as they currently are, bring
about eligibility tests for noise insulation right at the beginning
of construction, so that will happen automatically anyway.
12379. CHAIRMAN: Yes, that is what I
rather thought. Thank you very much.