Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12380
12380. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Mr
Berryman was saying that during the construction they could either
use electric battery-motivated engines or, alternatively, diesel
engines. Do you know the difference in decibels between one and
Can I first make it clear that what Mr Berryman was referring
to was the small, narrow-gauge, temporary trains that run on the
temporary construction railway. Yes, there is a reduction in noise
from battery locomotives compared with diesel locomotives. It
is not necessarily a straightforward matter to choose one or the
other because the distance that has to be travelled by the temporary
railway is one of the many things that determines the choice of
locomotive, and I do not think we have the opportunity today or
at the present time to say that it should be a battery loco or
a diesel loco, but there are important operational and other demands
that lead to the choice of the appropriate locomotive.
12381. But, wherever possible, it would be beneficial
to use the battery-operated one from a noise point of view?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) It would, although
these are small locomotives. They do not have high noise levels.
I did quite a lot of work on the equivalent construction locomotive
on the Channel Tunnel as opposed to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link,
and they are relatively small units.
12382. What kind of category? What kind of figures?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) They would be substantially
quieter than even the new re-engined, quieter high-speed trains
coming out of Paddington. They would be no noisier, in fact quieter
than a diesel multiple leaving Paddington. They are, I stress,
one single locomotive
12383. Would it be 50 or 70?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) The sound level?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) The measurements
are normally made at standard distances. At 7.5 metres from the
railway, you could expect a figure below 80. A Class 66, which
is a mainline freight locomotive, hauling full-sized freight trains,
probably the quietest mainline locomotive, is about 80 at 7.5
metres and I would expect the temporary railway locomotive to
12385. So it is still quite noisy?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) It would still be
audible, yes, my Lord.
12386. CHAIRMAN: Now, Lady Bright, would
you like to ask any questions?
Cross-examined by LADY
12387. LADY BRIGHT: Thank you very much
for your intervention, my Lord. That was helpful in terms of explanation.
I would just point out that we have the Class 66s and those are
the things that shake Mr Hessenberg out of bed! Those are the
freight trains that are used, so 80, yes, is noisy. Thank you,
Ms Lieven, for clarifying that point also about the regulations;
that is a comfort. Mr Taylor, I wonder if you could explain, because
I am not sure that we have all got it completely, about this one
decibel and how easy it is to measure in a complex environment,
a noisy environment, with accuracy that one decibel.
It is almost impossible to measure it accurately. The procedure
is purely one of calculation. There is a procedure designated
by the regulations published by the then Department of Transport
called `Calculation of Railway Noise', a volume which contains
both the data and the method for doing the statutory calculations.
The procedure is followed according to set rules and, I am pleased
to say, if four completely different experts all sat down to do
the same determination for the same location, provided they made
no errors, they would all get the same answer and, because it
is a calculation procedure, it is capable of resolution into these
small margins. A small margin is necessary to make quite sure
that eligibility for statutory noise insulation does not arise
wrongly or accidentally in a case where there happens to be an
altered railway, but it really makes no difference at all to the
noise climate, so it is important that, where there is eligibility
for noise insulation, it really can be clearly attributed to the
new, or altered, railway, and that is the procedure which will
be gone through for Crossrail.
12388. But you could not measure that one?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) No. Two sound level
meters can measure different levels differing by more than one
decibel and still meet standards for sound level meters.
12389. So the calculations are theoretical because
we are talking about feeding in data, are we, that does not yet
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) That is quite correct.
12390. They are all predictions, are they not?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes. This is strictly
for eligibility for operational noise insulation.
12391. The detailed noise study that is going
to be undertaken you say will take account of all the noise sources,
will it not?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes, it will.
12392. Does it not seem sensible that that data
should be available to the makers of all the noise sources? Will
it be available? Will this be a public study?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) That noise study
will be publicly available, yes. That will be carried out as part
of the processes I described before lunch, primarily in the context
of the construction noise evaluation both for the section 61 process
and for considering whether this is eligibility for noise insulation
or temporary re-housing under Information Paper D9. The output
of all that work will be a public document and available to all.
12393. Excellent. Do we know that it will contain
all the data required? If, for example, Transport for London,
which is going to wholly own Crossrail very shortly, the reorganisation
is under way, wanted to find out how much of the noise was due
to their Westway and how they could best remediate that, would
they be able to use this data for that purpose?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) They could, but they
could do that in two or three days' time when the new noise maps
come out because there is a separate map for highway noise. We
saw on the exhibit before lunch a blue corridor either side of
the Westway due to the high noise from traffic on that road and
that is pure traffic noise and then in a few days' time there
will be a rail noise map which will show pure railway noise and
it will be possible for Transport for London and everybody else
to see the relative contributions of the two sources.
12394. Would they be able to feed in various
hypotheticals into the model?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes indeed. The models
are completely mechanistic, so if you feed in different traffic
volumes and different rail vehicle types you get the appropriately
different answer. In due course the noise maps will be revised
and updated, although that will not be for several years yet.
12395. I am having a problem conceptually about
"It's my noise not your noise" because we do recognise
that the cumulative effects of noise are complex to assess, are
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) They are indeed complex.
It is quite true that two noise sources do combine to produce
a higher level, but as I explained to the Committee right at the
outset in my talk on Day One, that effect is remarkably small
in that combining two identical noise sources only pushes the
noise level up by three units. If we waved a wand and created
an identical Westway on, as near as possible, the identical alignment,
surprisingly the noise climate would only worsen by 3dB. You would
notice it but only just.
12396. Would you agree that it is likelywe
cannot predict because we do not know, we have not got the data
yetthat this complex noise environment will be experienced
differently at different locations even on this short street?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) That is very true.
We have already seen how the existing railways are at different
levels, e.g. the Hammersmith & City Line is diving down. On
the site visit some of us will have heard the very different kind
of noise that the Hammersmith & City Line makes because of
its jointed track from the diesel hauled trains going underneath
the bridge that we also heard. They are all different in their
nature. It might sound odd but from that point of view the presence
of continuous rather characterless noise from Westway which Sir
Keith described as "white noise", meaning it was a broad
band characterless noise, to some extent smoothes over some of
the more irritating characteristics of, for example, the Hammersmith
& City Line clickety-clacking over its jointed track.
12397. They are different noises. Would you
also accept that exposure to them over a long period will have
differential effects as well?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) Complex effects.
There is some habituation to noise. I am sure if we did a social
survey of the corridor from Paddington to Ealing Broadway we would
find a wide range of responses. Some people would say they had
got used to the railway noise and it did not disturb them; other
people would say that it was a major source of disturbance, it
prevented them sleeping and you get a wide distribution of responses
whenever you look at public responses to a complex noise source
12398. Is it not the case that these really
rather complicated tools for measuring noise are at least partly,
if not primarily, designed to predict the point at which the human
at the receiving end is going to start making complaints?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) No. Humans are an
important part of it, but there are many reasons for considering
noise: effects on sleep disturbance, effects on health, effects
on task performance concentration, learning. There are many effects
noise has. Complaint prediction is but one and indeed there are
tools for doing that, but that is only one of many.
12399. I mentioned it really because it indicates,
does it not, that there is a degree of subjectivity in all this?
(Mr Thornely-Taylor) There is a wide degree
of subjectivity and one has to address that by considering populations,
groups of people, groups of residents as a statistical sample
and you end up with a familiar distribution curve with insensitivity
to noise at one end and sensitivity at the other end. If you take
single figures out of that like average annoyance or a particular
percentage of people highly annoyed, there are ways of getting
a single number which does not change from a population among
which the individual human responses vary enormously.