Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 12420 - 12439)

  12420. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Could I ask you, Lady Bright, if you have had any conversations with Westminster City Council about their likely reaction to you advocating that there should be an increase in the size of the wall or there should be some changes in the nature of the panels between houses and so on?

  12421. LADY BRIGHT: We have not had detailed conversations about the panel changes, etc, and that would be with the Conservation people. There are panels already between some houses of not a great height but a little bit higher than the wall and certainly closer to where the noise is felt, and those seem to be okay. So although I cannot prejudge what they would say I would say that, in general, the local authority has been very supportive of us, so if they can they will.

  12422. LORD BROOKE OF ALVERTHORPE: Do they know about the line you have been running on the wall?

  12423. LADY BRIGHT: Yes, and they have a great deal of experience in large civil engineering projects. Mr King, who is in charge of dealing with the Crossrail Bill from Westminster, has just built the new Bishop's Bridge, which is a massive, multi-million pound bridge. He also knows about how difficult it is with public works; if people do not want to do something they will find a million reasons for not doing it. Therefore, at this stage, where we are getting so much objection to even thinking about the wall, which is a Network Rail structure, we have not got any further with detailed discussions there. I cannot really give you too good a steer, but it is not ruled out at all. I think they would encourage that it could be done at some reasonable cost. Obviously, that is a factor and that is partly behind what you are saying as well. We do have costings from mainland Europe—Holland—on noise barriers and structures supporting them etc, and their costings are several orders of magnitude lower than the ones we are hearing from the people who do not want to do it. I would simply leave it at that.

  12424. CHAIRMAN: Lady Bright, I do not think you have answered Lord Brooke's question. Have you discussed with the Westminster City Council the question of heightening the wall?

  12425. LADY BRIGHT: I am sorry, I did not answer it clearly enough. We have discussed it with them and they are not giving a clear answer until they know what is proposed. They are not against a noise barrier in principle, as far as I can understand.

Re-examined by MS LIEVEN

  12426. MS LIEVEN: A couple of questions in re-examination, Mr Thornely-Taylor. First of all, as far as the eligibility criteria for noise insulation and re-housing, which are set out in D9, are concerned, have those been agreed with the local authority?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) Yes, they have.

  12427. I then want to turn to this issue about the construction railway that seems to have come up rather late in the day. First of all, noise from the construction railway: is that taken into account when the noise study is carried out and the assessment for eligibility for noise insulation during construction is assessed?

   (Mr Thornely-Taylor) It is part of the plant required for construction, and it will be taken into account in that process.

  12428. MS LIEVEN: My Lords, there is one point I want to raise at this stage. There seems to be some possibility floated that we should be required to use one kind of construction locomotive rather than another. Now, that is not a matter we came here prepared to deal with, and I am getting various different notes about different kinds of trains and different noises. If the Committee are interested in that matter—and, clearly, it is something the Committee are perfectly entitled to be interested in—what I would like to do is do some work overnight and produce a very short note that sets out what the different kinds of construction trains are and what their noise at 7.5 metres, or whatever, would be. I would much rather not do it on the hoof because I want to make sure we have got it right. To be frank with you, I am getting slightly conflicting messages on conflicting points. So I do not want to relay them to the Committee and then have to pull them back tomorrow.

  12429. CHAIRMAN: You do that.

  12430. MS LIEVEN: If I could do it that way I would be very grateful. Thank you, my Lords. Those are all my questions for Mr Thornely-Taylor.

  12431. CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much, Mr Thornely-Taylor.

The witness withdrew

  12432. CHAIRMAN: What is going to happen about Mr Payne?

  12433. MS LIEVEN: I think Mr Payne is here and Mr Mould is ready to go ahead. Do your Lordships want a short closing from me?

  12434. CHAIRMAN: Yes. I wanted to make sure that we have got our plans organised.

  12435. MS LIEVEN: Yes, Mr Payne is here and Mr Mould, I think, is here.

  12436. CHAIRMAN: You close on this one and I will invite Lady Bright.

  12437. MS LIEVEN: Thank you, my Lord. I think I can deal with the points very quickly. As far as the footbridge is concerned, I think the position is agreed, effectively, between ourselves and the Residents' Association now, so I do not think I need say any more about that, save to remind the Committee that the footbridge, at the end of the day, will be fully-Disability Discrimination Act compliant because it will be fully accessible at both ends and there will be no step in the middle. We have agreed to light it (we have seen the Network Rail letter) and further work in terms of painting it or whatever may be undertaken by Network Rail, and we have said we are happy to work on a scheme with Network Rail.

  12438. As far as the batching plant is concerned, the batching plant itself has not been raised by Lady Bright, so I am not going to say any more about that. So far as trains to the batching plant are concerned, in my submission what has become very clear today is that there is going to be a major improvement to Westbourne Park Villas in respect of the trains to the batching plant from this proposal. At the moment there are two or three trains a week in the middle of the night going to the batching plant but, as Mr Berryman explained, once the Crossrail scheme is completed those trains will not go anywhere near as far east as they do at the moment. So they will not go past the majority of houses in Westbourne Park Villas any longer. That is going to be a major improvement by reason of the project. In terms of noise reports, which Lady Bright was very concerned about, it is clear from Mr Thornely-Taylor's evidence that there has already been considerable work to draw up the Environmental Statement; there will be a detailed noise study which will take into account both cumulative noise effects and background noise in the location. So that work will be done as part of the assessment process for the construction noise insulation eligibility. So, in my submission, that meets a number of her concerns.

  12439. So far as construction noise eligibility is concerned, it is important that your Lordships understand that the criteria are agreed with the local authority. They have come together and they have been agreed, holistically, across the route. That is a universal standard that can be applied to residents up and down the Crossrail route. It is also important to understand that that takes into account all the construction effects, including the conveyer, the construction railway—all construction elements.

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