GLASGOW AIRPORT RAIL LINK BILL
Hearing held at Renfrewshire Council Paisley
5 September 2006
GROUP 17 MR GEORGE BOYES
Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill Hearing held on 5 September 2006 Group 17 Mr George Boyes Assessor: For Promoter: Professor Hugh Begg Mr Stuart Gale QC Ms Lauren Sutherland Mr Dani Fiumicelli Mr David Gardner Mr Paul Irving
[The Hearing commences at 10.07 am] Assessor: I am bound to introduce this session, particularly for the benefit of Mr Boyes, who has not been here before, with a few introductory remarks. These I intend to give just now. This is a hearing at which oral evidence will be taken on objections that have been made to the detail of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill. On Wednesday, 21 June 2006, the Scottish Parliament debated a motion in the name of the convenor of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link Bill Committee: “that the Parliament agrees to the general principles of the Glasgow Airport Rail Bill and that the Bill should proceed as a private Bill”. That motion was agreed and accordingly, the Bill moved on to the second stage in the Private Bill process which is called the Consideration Stage. My name is Hugh Begg and I am the Assessor appointed by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body to consider the evidence brought to the Committee at this first phase of the Consideration Stage and to report to the Bill Committee. For the avoidance of doubt, the Committee may either accept or reject any recommendation contained in my report; and it can take any such further action, as it sees fit. It is for the Committee to provide its own report to Parliament. I am accompanied today by members of the Private Bills Unit of the Scottish Parliament. They – as Mr Boyes in particular will know – have undertaken a very considerable body of preliminary work in preparation for the Hearings. They are here to assist us and if there is any administrative matter, they are the first port of call. Some domestic matters: I would like to make sure, again, that we are as comfortable as possible, so let me know if there are any difficulties
at all with heating, ventilation and so on. [Further housekeeping details given] All those appearing at the hearing have been fully briefed before but I would emphasise that the Hearing will be based on the principles of natural justice, commonly described as ‘openness, fairness and impartiality’. As far as the procedure is concerned, the Objector and the Promoter may call witnesses to give evidence-in-chief. All evidence will be open to cross-examination and the witnesses may then be re-examined if that is required. After the initial evidence has been presented, I will invite the parties, if they wish, to make a closing statement. But in that closing statement, which should last no more than five minutes, I would like to have set out, clearly and for the record, in terms readily understandable to the lay person – that is to the Members of the Bill Committee – the final position of the parties and how, if at all, the parties wish the Bill to be amended. If a short break of five minutes or so is necessary for the parties to prepare their closing submissions, I am open to that suggestion. With these preliminary matters out of the way, I would like to give those who are going to lead the cases the opportunity to introduce themselves and their witnesses, indicate the order in which the evidence will be given and the main subjects which will be covered. As is conventional, I will start with the Promoter, who will lead the case for the Promoter this morning. Mr Gale: Good morning, Sir. My name is Stuart Gale. I will lead the case on behalf of the Promoter. Assessor: Are there any matters on which I should be updated? Mr Gale: No, Sir, there are no particular matters requiring to be updated. The issues that remain are as apparent from the witness statements, albeit that on one matter you heard some evidence through Mr Lynas of Network Rail the other day, concerning the use of klaxons and I will take that evidence from one of the witnesses here, for the purposes of this session, of that. Beyond that our witnesses are the gentlemen at the table in front of you, Mr Irving, Mr Gardner and Mr Fiumicelli. For Mr Boyes’s benefit, Mr Irving is the Parliamentary Agent – Mr Boyes: Could I ask you to speak up a bit, please? Mr Gale: Mr Irving is the Parliamentary Agent responsible for this Bill. Mr Gardner is the representative of the Promoter, SPT. Mr Fiumicelli is attached to Faber Maunsell, the consultants with a specialisation in noise and vibration issues. Those are the gentlemen who are there, Mr Boyes, if you want to ask any questions. Beyond that, Sir, it is not my intention to develop any further evidence beyond that which is stated in our response to the witness statements, save for the very limited matter of klaxons.
Assessor: Thank you very much. If I could turn to you, now, Mr Boyes? I take it you will be leading your own case and presenting your own evidence? Is that correct? Mr Boyes: That is correct. Assessor: You are not supported this morning? Thank you very much indeed. Is there any matter that I need to be updated on as far as your position is concerned? Or is it as stated as stated? Mr Boyes: It is as stated in our first correspondence letter. Assessor: I believe you also presented a rebuttal? Mr Boyes: It evolves around what we have said in our correspondence. Assessor: I am obliged to you. You will know, Mr Boyes, there is no need for me to hear any of that again. I have assimilated that over the days and indeed overnight, and I am familiar with what you and the signatories to the petition in the surrounding area have said. So there is no need for you to rehearse any of that. But as Mr Gale has pointed out, these gentlemen are available to you to ask questions. Would you care to ask a few questions of them? Mr Boyes: Yes, if you don’t mind. Mr Gale: Could I just clarify with the witness on the matter of klaxons so that is all before you? Assessor: I beg your pardon, Mr Gale, I’m losing my place here. Thank you very much, if you would. The klaxon and train horn can be taken as the same thing. Mr Boyes: Well – Assessor: No, sorry – I am going to ask Mr Gale to clarify. I have some evidence at a previous session and Mr Gale took it from another witness. For your benefit and indeed for mine and the Bill Committee at this hearing, he is going to take it again so that we can be absolutely sure of where the Promoter is coming from this morning. Mr Boyes: Well, yes. Assessor: No, sorry, that is the procedure that is going to be adopted, Mr Boyes. I am going to ask Mr Gale to take that evidence from, I think, Mr Fiumicelli. Mr Boyes: Sorry. I am not really following you there. I am not catching every word you are saying.
Assessor: I am going to ask Mr Gale to ask a number of questions before you get started. I was procedurally wrong. I was going to ask Mr Gale to take some evidence from Mr Fiumicelli on the klaxon. Then you will have the opportunity to ask your question. The error was mine and Mr Gale corrected me, and we are now going to take that evidence. Questions to Mr Gardner and Mr Fiumicelli Mr Gale: Thank you, Sir. This is something and I can properly address to both Mr Gardner and Mr Fiumicelli because I think you both were present at an earlier hearing of this Inquiry when reference was made to the use of klaxons and also Mr Lynas of Network Rail was a witness at that time. Gentlemen, first of all, can you explain for the purposes of this session of the Inquiry, your understanding of the use of, and the regulation of the use of, klaxons on trains travelling on the likely GARL network? Mr Gardner: Certainly. If I could start? My understanding is that Network Rail is the operator and they have regulatory requirements, particularly with regard to safety. So if they have people working on the line or other safety matters such as people crossing the line, then horns will be sounded. Similarly for First ScotRail as the main passenger train operator – they have a series of instructions to train operators for sounding horns, mainly safety related. They are all safety related but they are for a number of specific instances, so maybe an instruction like a whistle board or maybe a level crossing, or someone working on the line, someone crossing the line – issues like that. Mr Gale: And again, either of you gentlemen: is there any prescribed level of sound generation in relation to these horns? Mr Fiumicelli: If I may answer that, Sir? The answer is yes. An organisation called RSSB, which I think stands for ‘Rail Safety and – something – Board’ (excuse my ignorance on that point) prescribes the use of train horns or klaxons in specific circumstances. Network Rail have very recently – within the last four or five months – published a set of internal regulations governing the minimum loudness of horns. The objective of the horn is to provide a clearly audible warning at a distance of at least 400 metres from in front of the train. Now, the current regulations recognise that the loudness of the horn really needs to reflect the speed at which the train is travelling, because that is the speed in which it will cover that minimum distance. There are varying degrees of minimum level required for how fast the train is travelling. The speed at which trains are likely to be travelling on the GARL route is likely to be in the mid range of the range of speeds that are envisaged with the train horn. The minimum level of train horn in those circumstances is between eight and 15 decibels lower than the
previous regulations. So, whilst there may be horns sounded on the GARL route, I have a very high degree of confidence that the actual level of the individual horn from the GARL is going to be significantly lower than the level of horn from existing, older rolling stock fitted with the older horns. The way that Network Rail see this change being brought into place is a fairly evolutionary process. As rolling stock is replaced with new rolling stock, it will be fitted with the new horns. Q. Mr Fiumicelli, is your understanding of that situation regarding the minimum level – would that hold good across the entire length of the proposed GARL network, or will it differ at varying points within the network? Effectively, it will be the same across the entire GARL network. It will be governed by where the trains are at their fastest, because that will dictate the minimum level of loudness, but it will still be lower than the previous older rolling stock horn level. There was a very substantial piece of research carried out in 2004, which established that the existing horn levels were overly cautious and very conservative, and were louder than they needed to be for the vast majority of trains which travelling at less than 130 kilometres per hour. So again, this may be so self-explanatory it does not need confirmation, but if I can, I take it the limit on the sound generation of these horns will be controlled through the mechanism of the horn itself, if I can put it that way? Yes. It is a fixed level. What the Network Rail regulations prescribed is that the specification of the performance of the horn of any particular train which would be servicing the route and travelling at particular ranges of speeds must meet a certain minimum level. Right. Thank you very much, gentlemen. Thank you, Sir.
Assessor: Thank you very much. If I may just ask one or two questions? As I understand it, what is happening here is every time the horn is sounded in the future, it is likely to be less loud, it is going to be fewer decibels? A. That is my understanding, Sir. Assessor: That’s it. But it would be true, would it not, that for instance passing close to the Objector’s home, the likelihood is that the klaxon, the horn, will sound more often because there are going to be more trains – all other things being equal? A. Yes, Sir. Assessor: Thank you very much. Has, to your knowledge, the paper on Noise and Vibration – it was brought forward to me as a policy paper – has that paper ever been made available to this Objector or to any of the others who are engaged in an objection? Mr Gardner: Yes, it has.
Assessor: Thank you very much. Your update on that paper: there has been no further progress since we spoke a couple of days ago? The paper still stands as your position? I am correct again – I am rehearsing this merely for the benefit of this hearing – but this is a work in progress and it is your intention to continue to update that paper? Mr Gardner: Yes. Assessor: Is it your intention in updating that paper to undertake a continuing consultation with, for instance, this Objector and – for instance again – as I recall Mr Hopkirk who is particularly exercised with this as an Objector appearing for Group 10? Mr Gardner: Yes. Assessor: So this is an ongoing dialogue with them to take on board insofar as it is possible so to do, the objections that he has raised? Mr Gardner: Yes. Assessor: I am obliged to you for that. Mr Boyes, it is open to you now to ask questions of any of these three gentlemen. They appear before you as a Panel, so you can set up your question and ask who is best equipped to deal with it. Please carry on. Mr Boyes: Thank you very much. Could we talk about the klaxon noises? And you are talking about noise levels and parameters and stuff. The procedure, when workers are on the line – am I correct in saying the procedure should be there are flagmen at each end of the working area and that they in fact wave a flag when a train is coming and they sound a hand klaxon horn? Is that the correct procedure? Mr Fiumicelli: I am afraid I am not a rail safety expert, sir. I could not comment on that issue, unless there is anybody else available in the room or on the Panel who could answer that. Mr Gardner: I couldn’t say for definite but it is familiar to me that that – Mr Boyes: This is what I have observed. That is why I am asking you this. If that is the procedure, what would be the requirement for a train to sound its klaxon to the extent they do? The drivers, before they leave for their duties – I take it they are briefed on the places where construction work is taking place? They should know the places it is taking place. Are they restricted by speed limits? Mr Gardner: I think it depends what work is going on. Some things are inspections, some things are maybe specific engineering works where they put in a speed restriction. Q. I can understand if the rail is unstable, that that would restrict them. But what I mean is there an instruction given to them – the same as a motorway where you have a speed limit where there is a construction part taking place, motorists are all slowed down to a certain speed and they do not all sound their horns. This is my point I am trying to make that if this is a procedure that should be carried out for safety – since
we are talking safety and I agree with safety for workers – should be no need for the use of klaxons being sounded. That is a legal requirement for klaxon sounding – my problem is that there is a lot of illegal use of the klaxon horn and are you in a position to tell me, has any driver been disciplined in that line for illegal use? There have been letters of complaint from myself and neighbours since 2000, and they state categorically in their letters that they should not sound their klaxon entering an underpass. That is not part of the regulations. Assessor: Is it correct to say that the underpass is adjacent to – Mr Boyes: It is right at my back garden. The echo sounds up the whole – all of the complainers, 17, you will see by the objection, they have all said that the noise was intrusive. Assessor: It was simply for the record. That is very helpful. I do not know if you are in a position to answer that question? Can I modify that question as a preface to that? Does Mr Boyes’s proposition have any water to begin with in that should or can the drivers be disciplined? Mr Fiumicelli: I don’t know, Sir. I do not speak for Network Rail or for ScotRail. It would be the authorities that would institute any disciplinary procedures there. It is not unusual, as I understand it, that there is variability in sounding of horns. There are fixed circumstances in which the sounding of a horn is mandatory, and then there are discretionary circumstances in which the driver can decide to sound it. The overwhelming ethos of the rail industry is safety so they may well err on the side of caution and safety and sound it, but there are circumstances where it is at the discretion of the driver. That can be the same circumstances from one driver to another, but the circumstances can also change. There may be persons on or about the track, trespassing; there may be animals on or about the track which could produce a response. But I am afraid I cannot answer specific questions in relation to historical issues and debate about the appropriateness of the use of horns in the region of Mr Boyes’s home. Assessor: Would it be fair to say that a driver who was going out and running across a portion of line, or adjacent to a portion of line, on which there were maintenance going on, would he be forewarned of this? A. That would be part of a normal safe system of work, as I understand it, on the railway. Assessor: So as far as the safety matters are concerned, some of them the drivers will know about and take the necessary precautions, and others they will not know about but are likely to err on the side of caution. If, for instance, previously they had had an incident close to or nearby an underpass, would that be fair again?
That would be very like, Sir, yes.
Assessor: My understanding is that Mr Boyes will want some sort of protection for the ambience of his property, but are you saying, because you cannot answer these questions, you are not in a position to offer him that sort of comfort at all? Mr Gardner: Yes. I think what we are saying is that we recognise that there is problem for Mr Boyes with the klaxon noises, but it is really the operators of the line that are at the heart of the problem. Assessor: To whom should he turn, then, in order to achieve what would appear to be – if it is legitimate that the drivers are overdoing it, to whom should he turn? A. On receiving the Objector’s objection, we did write to both Network Rail and First ScotRail to highlight the problem, because we consider that, at the moment, as an existing problem. We had letters back from both organisations, which I passed to Mr Boyes, and they stated what the rules were in terms of sounding klaxons. They are aware of the problem. They are aware of the complaint. There is not a lot more I can do on that. Assessor: You may not know the content of these letters in detail but I guess you have seen them. They may well state the rules, but what is open to Mr Boyes if these rules, either by accident or by design, are being flouted? A. I think there is always a channel there for Mr Boyes to go and speak to them direct, and ask them to come and see what the problem is. But from my discussions with both parties, I believe First ScotRail, their safety manager, actually went out on one of the trains and went up and down the line a few times just to see if there were any particular reasons at Mr Boyes’s location why drivers were sounding klaxons. The information I had back was that there were no occurrences other than what was in the rules. Assessor: Well, for the two or three times he was up and down the line. Mr Boyes, presumably, hears 65 a year, or thereby. You have acknowledged, I think, that notwithstanding the fact that the klaxons are likely to sound, the sound will be a wee bit lower each time that they are sounded. Nevertheless, because there is a third track going in and there are likely to be more trains running along that, there will be potentially more incidents. Is that correct? A. Yes, that is correct. Assessor: Do you have any proposals to monitor the situation at all? Because there will be an increment to the background noise as a result, albeit the noise from klaxons is going to be less. Do you have any procedure that you might be able to put in to monitor the extent to which the increment of noise due to the number of trains running as a result of the implementation of GARL – sorry, you were saying
something? I think you have my question. I did not finish it but if you can give me the answer, that is fine. Mr Fiumicelli: There is a proposal within the Noise and Vibration Policy Document, Sir, to implement monitoring post-completion of the works and the starting operation of the GARL. That is not finalised yet along with the rest of the Noise and Vibration policy, and certainly not in terms of selection of monitoring points and periods over which it would be monitored. That is something we could enter in with Mr Boyes and try to accommodate. Assessor: Would you rule out a monitoring point at or close to 10 Urrdale Road? A. There are no technical noise or acoustic grounds to do so, Sir, and it could be a convenient location. I think we would have to take it in the totality of the overall project, but there are no specific acoustic reasons why we should not do it there. Assessor: Should not do it there? I have been cutting across you, Mr Boyes, but does all that help? The Promoter, it seems to me, is coming a long way towards trying to assist you. They cannot – and this is my understanding of the situation as well – deal with matters which are at the hand of Network Rail, but they do recognise that more trains will be running ‘at the bottom of your garden’, if I could put it that way, albeit each time the klaxon sounds, whether legitimately or illegitimately, the sound will not be as great as you currently suffer. They are prepared to monitor the situation, or at least not to rule out having a monitoring device close to your property. Does that help you at all? Mr Boyes: Would I have access to read this? And would I be able to read it to know that in fact the parameters given to me – they have been very fair in doing this and I do not disagree they probably will try to work within these parameters – but if they are using a machine that I do not have access to and be able to read it, or to take it to the environmental people in Glasgow to explain to me this is what I have to do. I took the document to the environmental people and they said, Yes, the parameters were all reasonable for construction and stuff and we have no argument with that. The problem is that these are inclined to be broken and if the person who is monitoring them is the person that is answerable -. I can only tell by my ears what noise – I would like to be able to have access to this, a print-out for instance and to indicate whether it is going above the parameters at any time. With reference to the klaxon noise, we have a – Assessor: Mr Boyes, I think you have a very interesting question to ask and it is in this form, if I may? I understood you to acknowledge that the Noise and Vibration Policy Paper would have a section on monitoring, and that this monitoring section would be not unusual in the sense that you would say how you are going to do it, how the information is going
to be made public and then what you are going to do about it – put bluntly. Mr Fiumicelli: Yes, Sir. I think at the very least we would offer the results to these persons whose properties we are using as a monitoring point. If we were to use Mr Boyes’s property as a monitoring point, as a courtesy at the very least, we would directly give him the output, the results from the monitoring. We would need his permission to enter into his property to do the monitoring. He could be there to witness what we were doing and we would be very comfortable with that. We have nothing to hide on that point, Sir, and – Assessor: You would not want Mr Boyes, of course, to be going to the particular instrument and measuring things for himself, but you are quite content to have him come along and have a look. Mr Fiumicelli: We would ask him to be quiet whilst we are doing the measurements! We want to make it train noise, rather than gardening activity or anything else you might be doing, sir. Mr Boyes: Maybe you could get to a situation - because since 2000 I have been trying to get someone to come along and listen to the noise and say, Never mind parameter, never mind decibels, listen to this noise in my house, listen to this noise in my garden, and try to realise it is a big intrusion to us, speaking for other people, but more for myself, being right at the mouth of this underpass. That certainly goes a long way if I can let other people know that you are not going over these parameters. What does concern me is the fact that you are here today promoting the addition to this railway line of eight trains per hour, which is going to increase the problems that we already have and noise and possibly vibration. Unfortunately, you do not seem to know a great deal of the working of the railways that is causing this problem. I know Mr Gardner has been very helpful in passing on our letters to ScotRail and Network Rail. They are the people who seem to be working for it and you, as Promoter, are responsible. You cannot shift the responsibility on to the user because you are promoting it, as I say, and it should be ensured that the people who are using the line, at the end of the day, are going to comply with what regulations there are. At the moment, any regulations that may come out of this – Assessor: Mr Boyes, you will have an opportunity to give your evidence. I understand entirely that you are setting a framework, within which you are about to ask a question, but could you come directly to the question that you would like to ask? I gather that we have moved from the particular problem of klaxons to the general problem of noise and vibration and the fact that you live, as I understand it, in an environment which has a fairly high background noise – not only from
the Bellahouston Academy but also from the M8 and the railway line at the bottom of your garden. Within that general context, could you address the question that you want to ask the witnesses while they are here? Mr Boyes: As I say, my next question they probably will not be able to answer either. Operating this klaxon, if you put your hand on it and keep your hand on it, does it just keep blasting away? What you did say was that the faster the train goes – yes, that is true. The freight trains never seem to use their klaxon and the passenger trains do. But some of them seem to give a prolonged blast. Is this because they are putting their hand on a button and keeping it there? Mr Fiumicelli: As I understand it, the operation of a train horn is not dissimilar to the operation of a car horn, in that the longer you press the lever, the button – whatever the control is – the longer the horn will sound for. So a quick touch will give you a short beep, a long press and hold down will give you a long blast. Mr Boyes: It is the long blast that really is the most intrusive and, as I say, maybe that could be looked at – why there is a necessity for a long blast. Could we maybe ask a few questions on vibration? Assessor: Absolutely. That is what these gentlemen are here for. If you just ask them directly what the issue is. You are familiar with the Environmental Statement and all the background information that is in there? As a preface, do you accept the information that has been produced by the technical experts in that particular document? It is Chapter 13, I think, in Appendix 13. Are you content with that and you are just going to ask questions? Mr Boyes: I have just several questions to ask, really, or bring out a bit in my statement maybe later – Assessor: That is fine, if you can move directly to the questions, thank you. Mr Boyes: You are aware that there is a vibration from the railway to the residents in this area? Mr Fiumicelli: Railways are a common source of vibration and if you are telling me you suffer vibrations from the railway, I have got no grounds to doubt that, Mr Boyes. Q. A. Could you tell me what has been done to decrease vibration when the line is being used more by the link line? We cannot alter the level of vibrations that you get from the existing railway. The likely increase in vibration that you may get from the operation of the GARL is predicted to produce an overall level of vibration that is well within accepted standards for the assessment and impact of vibration on people and on property.
Would it be true to say then that if the line is well maintained, there would be less vibration? It would be true to say, if I can turn that question around, sir, that if a line is poorly maintained, you are likely to get more vibration than if it was well maintained. It is not akin with a bad road, when you are in a motor car and you get a bad road that you get vibrations? You can get certain effects, certainly with wear. You get an effect called rail corrugation, which is where you get pits at certain distances along the rail. There are various factors covering it: the wheel shape, the rail profile, the speed of the train, the weight of the train. That can enhance not only the vibration but also the noise. But it is less likely to happen with the type of rail that is proposed here, this continually welded rail, and with the type of train that is likely to operate on the GARL. Thank you very much, Sir.
Assessor: These are your questions? Thank you very much indeed, Mr Boyes. I think it is now open to you, Mr Gale. I realise you are consulting, in your own time if there are any matters you want to tidy up? Mr Gale: Just one or two, Sir. Mr Boyes has expressed an understandable concern which may have at its heart the possibility of abuse of a klaxon in and around his property or indeed in and around any other property. So far as you are aware, gentlemen, is there any requirement in and around Mr Boyes’ property which would make the sounding of a klaxon mandatory, so far as the driver of a train is concerned? Mr Fiumicelli: No. I understand from Network Rail that there is no mandatory requirement for sounding of horns along this section of the GARL, or indeed throughout the GARL. Q. Of course, at the moment, what we are dealing with is a situation as, at present, that this is being operated by or controlled by Network Rail and/or ScotRail. Is that correct? We have heard and we are aware that this is in the proximity of an underpass. I take it that there is no mandatory requirement to sound a horn when entering or leaving an underpass? No. When drivers of trains using the route at present, so far as you are aware, gentlemen, are they made aware of the existence of maintenance work on various sections of the line before they set out on their journey? As I understand it, that formed part of the safe system of work on the railways, that you brief drivers of potential problems along the line.
Maintenance work on lines is a matter, I suppose, other than in circumstances of extreme emergency, which is programmed? Is that correct?
Mr Boyes: Excuse me. Could I have a comfort break? Assessor: Yes, of course, Mr Boyes. [Hearing adjourned at 10.47 am] [Hearing reconvened at 10.49 am]
Assessor: Mr Gale, please continue. Mr Gale: Again, it may be a concern that not only would there be sounds coming from trains, but there may be sounds coming from a workman working with a work gang on the rail? Is that your understanding of the general procedure that is followed? Mr Gardner: It is likely in general to have a hand held klaxon as well. Mr Fiumicelli: On that point, Sir, I would add as well that the flagmen’s klaxon is significantly quieter because you cannot carry the equipment to generate the same noise as on the train. Mr Gale: Again, I think it is appreciated by all parties that the Promoter’s position in relation to the use of klaxons both by flagmen and by train drivers is limited in that it is essentially a matter for Network Rail, whether it be in respect of the drivers or of the work parties and also ScotRail. Would it be possible – addressing this to Mr Gardner – that the Promoter make clear to the train operators and to Network Rail their wish that the use of klaxons is confined to the circumstances in which proper use of klaxons is to take place? Namely that it is to make persons on or about the line aware of the immediate presence of a train. Mr Gardner: Yes, we have done that already. Q. Has that been part of the dialogue that you have had with Network Rail and with ScotRail, in the context of certain of the objections that have come from Mr Boyes and others? Yes.
Thank you. Finally, I think there may be a little bit of confusion regarding the possibility of a monitoring point. As I understand it, Mr Fiumicelli, the location of monitoring points is a matter that still requires to be finalised, so far as the GARL project is concerned? Mr Fiumicelli: Yes, Sir.
But at this stage, it would not be possible to give a concrete guarantee to Mr Boyes that a monitoring point would be located in or about his property? Is that right? That is the situation, Sir, at present. But as far as you are aware, Mr Fiumicelli, I think I have noted you as saying that there are no specific acoustic reasons why Mr Boyes’ property could not be a monitoring point. That is correct. And there is nothing unusual or particular about that point which would make it unrepresentative of the noise generation in and around that particular area? No. So on that basis, if the monitoring point were to be located around about Mr Boyes’ property, given Mr Boyes’ particular concerns and interest in these matters, I take it that on that basis the information generated by the monitoring point and the monitoring equipment at that point would be provided to Mr Boyes? I think that would be automatic. Yes, Sir.
And, Mr Gardner, perhaps you could confirm on behalf of the Promoter that that would be done? Mr Gardner: Yes, that will. Assessor: Could I just elaborate on that a little? That has been most helpful, Mr Gale. Would it be made available to the public generally? You will recall there are 43 petitioners here. Would they have access to that, either on a web site or - ? Mr Gardner: We could make that available. Assessor: Just for my information – I am not pressing the point – would the monitoring arrangements for things like noise and vibration, would they be readily available without somebody having to go to Freedom of Information, or something like that? Would this data be available generally? A. I could not say that we are actually planning to do that, but I do not think that would be a problem. Assessor: This is, I think, moving well down the road to what Mr Boyes may be looking for and I just wondered about how the 43 other petitioners who were signatories to the – A. We could be proactive and make sure that they see the information. Assessor: Yes. I think that was another issue that Mr Hopkirk was concerned about and I just wondered whether this was something you might wish to think about when you are setting up the monitoring situation, how the information would be generally available, as well as to this particular gentleman, if you decide to use his property. I gather
it could be ten, it could be 12, it could be 14. It need not necessarily be at No. 10 but 10 would be representative of 12, 14 and other numbers on that side of the road. Mr Fiumicelli: Yes, Sir. Assessor: Thank you very much. Thanks, Mr Gale. Mr Gale: Thank you, Sir, I am grateful for that. Just on that point, gentlemen, I take it there would certainly be no difficulty in making publicly available the locations of various monitoring points? [Mr Fiumicelli and Mr Gardner confer] Mr Fiumicelli: In short, yes. There are security issues but that is uncommon when we do environmental monitoring. Some of the equipment – certainly the cases that they come in – are literally bomb proof, so we can counter that and I think on balance, it would be better that the information be made available to the broadest possible – so more people know about it and we deal with any fall out from it. Assessor: Certainly it would assist you in mitigation were the thresholds were to be triggered. Mr Fiumicelli: I am an acoustician, Sir. I like measuring noise anywhere in the house! Mr Gale: I think also you mentioned the issue of security. If the location of noise and vibration monitoring points are disclosed, I take also that it would be possible to tell if something was being done to artificially increase the noise in and around those locations. Would that be possible? Mr Fiumicelli: Generally, yes. There are several ways you can do this. One is you can make unscheduled visits to see what actually is forming the noise climate, the sounds you are measuring. The other one is you can set up the measurements in a way that enables you to look at the profiles of the measurements, both at the time and what is called their frequency spectrum, which is tonal content. Trains will often have a very similar repeatable sound pattern. If we see something different, we can easily fairly confidently say, ‘This is a train, that is a train’ and then we can pull that out and we can demonstrate that. Mr Gale: Thank you very much, Sir. Assessor: Now, you have the opportunity, Mr Boyes, to make a statement. Then there will be an opportunity for you to be questioned. Mr Boyes: Is that a final statement regarding what we are talking about? Assessor: No. You are giving a witness statement on your own behalf, as I understand it. So I am sure you have one or two things to say to us. I
just remind you that there is no need to repeat anything that you said in your written witness statement or your rebuttal. Mr Boyes: Could I just clear up a point about the monitoring device? Is it a graph? Is the reading done in a graph type? Mr Fiumicelli: You can have various kinds of format. We can have a table of figures. We can have a graph of various kinds – a line chart or a bar chart. There are lots of different ways of presenting it, and we will probably look to present it in several different formats so as broad a range of people as possible could have access and clearly understand the information that is being presented. We would not want to limit the presentation of the data to one particular type of either chart, table or whatever the alternative may be. It is often best to do both, to have a table of numbers, for those who wish to maybe do further analysis, but also to have a visual representation through some sort of chart or figure, to give instant, rapid ease of understanding. Q. A. So it would have a high peak, for instance a klaxon sounding very loudly, taken over a period then? It would. In a thing like this, I like to monitor over 24 hours and I like to monitor over a relatively short period, so we can pick out the discrete noise event: the passage of a train, the sounding of a horn, the shouting of children in the neighbouring garden – whatever the noise is. At your location, I suspect there is a fairly steady, relatively constant noise from the M8 and interspersed in that we have peaks from existing train movements, klaxons and things like that. We will be able to identify and pick out and focus in on specific issues that we want to look at, which would be the train noise – and klaxons, whatever. While your work is going on with this construction, would there be subcontractors used? It is common practice within the construction industry on large civilian projects to use subcontractors. I could not comment specifically as to who, where or when. The reason I am asking you this is because we have had problems with subcontractors who did not seem to think they were answerable to the users, maybe they do not think they are answerable to the proposers. As I say, this is a problem so can we maybe ensure that the subcontractors being used are made well aware that they have to keep within the parameters you are setting? In the context of construction noise, Sir, there is a Code of Construction Practice being developed. This will apply to the main contractor and all subcontractors and that will be a contractual arrangement through the Promoter and whoever builds this railway.
Assessor: Now, Mr Boyes, you still have an opportunity if you wish, to lead any evidence of your own. Otherwise, if you do not wish to do so, then there would be an opportunity for the Promoter to ask you one or two questions, then we can move on to what I have called the closing
statement. Do you have any statement you want to make at this stage? Not a closing statement but just a statement elaborating on the evidence you have already given in the written submissions. Mr Boyes: We have discussed the klaxon, and I think you are well aware of the noise it is causing. The other point we have not talked about much is the vibration. Assessor: Noise and vibration, yes. Mr Boyes: If I could just give a couple of examples of the vibration? Assessor: By all means. Mr Boyes: There is vibration there at the moment. The concern is, with everyone, that this vibration will become worse and cause problems. The problems have been in the past the usual cracked ceilings and the problem I had in particular, and which I warn all my neighbours about, was I had louvre windows at the front of my house, at the top, and the they rattled every time the train went by. So I got double glazing put in because we have double glazing in the rear because of the motorway and to get double glazing put in the front would seem to be more effective with the vibration. So it was a very large picture window and it cracked right down the middle and both panes were – nothing had hit it, it was a crack right down – and I got them to replace it and luckily enough it was under the five year guarantee. They said at the time then that what they had to do was to put in extra packers for vibration, and this was done and I have not had any bother since. I alert my neighbours to this effect, that if they were doing double glazing, they should get extra vibrators in. So just a point to show that there is vibration at that locus and a concern is that the vibration could worsen with another eight trains every day. Assessor: Thank you, Mr Boyes. Mr Gale, would you like to examine this witness? Mr Gale: No, thank you, Sir. Assessor: Could I just suggest to Mr Boyes that I do not think there can be any doubt, no dispute that your property is the subject of vibration from the existing movement. Of course, it is the additional movement that we are here to consider today and I would just like to establish in my own mind the extent to which there will be additional vibration, for Mr Boyes’ benefit. Also - we have dealt with the noise aspect – there will be additional vibration. I have no doubt whatsoever that there is vibration and that you have had to deal with it but it is no part of GARL’s job, the Promoter’s job, to remedy what may be a pretty unfortunate situation for you at the moment. The problem is how to mitigate any increment.
Mr Gale: Mr Fiumicelli can probably answer that directly but for your reference, Sir, at paragraph 188.8.131.52 of the Environmental Statement there is a generalised passage in relation to additional vibration. It makes clear that, as it says, “An increase in railway use along the existing line or along the proposed viaduct will simply introduce more occurrences of similar levels of PPV”. That was a point you took, in fact, on one of the other occasions in relation to noise. The conclusion appears to be in these terms: “It is consequently unlikely that the introduction of the scheme would give rise to structural damage of even a cosmetic nature of the properties alongside the existing track or alongside the proposed branch line”. Assessor: Mr Fiumicelli, in taking up those points, not unfamiliar to me and we have already had Mr Boyes indicating that he accepts the Environmental Statement, there is a case I am merely trying to establish in lay terms. Is it correct that there are conventional ways of identifying vibration as damage which may be structural or there is damage which may be cosmetic. And I have forgotten the one in the middle. Mr Fiumicelli: I have as well, Sir! Assessor: Am I correct in saying that there are these three levels? A. There is. It comes from British Standard 7385. Assessor: Thank you, which is not before me. I am trying to make it easy for Mr Boyes to understand what may have been a technical passage. A. That is right. The impact of vibration on buildings is assessed using the procedure of a long-established British Standard called BS7385. This looks at the characteristics of the vibration in terms of a descriptor that is called ‘peak particle velocity’. In crude terms, it is how much the building moves. Assessor: That was the ‘PPV’ that Mr Gale was speaking about? A. This British Standard sets out three sets of different PPVs – peak particle velocities, vibration levels, this is – which give rise to either cosmetic damage, minor damage and significant damage. Cosmetic damage includes things like cracking to plaster. Minor damage is movements of window frames – that kind of thing. Significant damage is exactly what it says: it is cracking of masonry, that kind of thing. The levels at which even cosmetic damage occur are very substantial. They are a level of vibration at which you would, to be frank, not want
to be in that building. As human beings, we are very effective detectors of vibration and it is very natural and ordinary and, in my experience in almost every case where I deal with vibration, everybody’s first reaction to feeling the vibrations is to be concerned that the building they are in, be it their home, their workplace, whatever, is going to suffer damage. In fact, you need ten, 100 or even more times as much vibration as we can feel before you even get very minor damage. What tends to happen – and this is supposition in the context of Mr Boyes’ home, because I have not inspected it, I have not measured the vibration there – but in general terms what happens when people experience vibration is they then start to look and find cracks in the plaster, small bits of the building that are not as they should be – that kind of thing. It is actually very uncommon to find that is directly related to the level of vibration of the building that the persons in it are experiencing. Levels of vibration that have been measured from the existing railway line fall way below the levels that BS7385, the established British Standard, stipulate as being likely to cause cosmetic damage. That is why we have drawn the conclusion that we are very confident that vibration from the GARL is not going to cause even very small cosmetic damage to the structures, some of which are going to be closer to the railway than your home. Assessor: That is very helpful indeed. Mr Gale: So far as any further questioning is concerned, Sir, I have no further questions. Assessor: Mr Boyes, I want to make absolutely certain within what is now turning into a loosely structured hearing, that you feel that you have been able to elicit from these gentlemen all the information possible and hopefully, have been able to establish some comfort. I am going to ask Mr Gale, obviously, to make a closing statement but I think we might be just at the stage where you might, if you are finished, we can simply say that you are finished. If you have one or two more questions, I am not trying to stop you. We have a few more minutes. Mr Boyes: I can follow, I know what you are saying about vibration and stuff. The people furthest away from the underpass side say that they feel vibration. Most of them in the houses are not too aware of vibration. I have had a lathe and plaster ceiling down but I did not claim it was he railway. I took it down just because of the age of the house and the fact that – Assessor: Am I thinking of a 1930s bungalow? Was your bungalow built in the 1930s?
Mr Boyes: Yes. Lathe and plaster – Assessor: I was brought up in one of those. The ceilings don’t last for ever, do they, Mr Boyes? Mr Boyes: It does happen. I was not trying to prove that the railway or anyone else had done that. What I have done is to advise people to examine their property prior to all this and be able to produce photographic evidence that their property was fine and then, but we are talking now in the realms of conversation after damage is done. I am a preventative type of person. I prefer preventative. There are relative documents coming out, for instance, on the Code of Compensation and maybe if they would be good enough to deliver 17 to me, I would distribute them to the residents, to let them know that in fact if they wanted to claim compensation. I am not really thinking of going down that road myself – I hope I do not have to go down that road myself – that is why I am spending so much time and so much of your time right now, to try to prevent that. Assessor: Thank you very much indeed. I am sure you and your neighbours are perfectly correct in doing that. I notice Mr Gardner nodding and I am sure that the Code of Compensation is in the public domain and they will make it available to you and to your near neighbours. We might be in a position now, Mr Gale, if you like to make a closing statement? What happens, Mr Boyes, is I usually ask who would like to go first. If you have a closing to statement – fair enough, you do not have to, but if you would like to? Mr Boyes: If you give me five minutes, I think it will be fairly brief anyway, because we have covered most ground. What we have talked about is that they have tried to be accommodating and saying they will try to stick to all the rules with the railway. The thing that surprises me is there is no regulations and rules covering noises from railways, to my understanding, in Scotland. There is in England but there is none in Scotland. They are in fact measuring some of these parameters from the English rules. I would like, when they build this route, to make it statutory that there is rules incorporated into it, so that we can take proper legal action if in fact, for instance, the klaxon noise keeps repeating, the illegal klaxon noise. As I say, there is no problem with a driver sounding a klaxon in an emergency, but they should be looking at their constructions, they should be looking at their repairs and slowing trains down so there is not the same requirement to sound a klaxon when work is being carried out. That is really what people have said. There is not a real objection to having a railway being added to. What they are objecting to is what we have been going over and the fact that they would like to
see it being brought in legally that we are protected under the Bill. That has to be carried forward to the Committee, Mr Assessor. Assessor: Thanks very much, Mr Boyes, that is very clear. Mr Boyes: Thank you for your tolerance and your kindness at the meeting and you have made it a relaxed place to give evidence. Assessor: Thank you for that. Mr Gale? Mr Gale: Again, Sir, the Promoter thanks Mr Boyes for his evidence and his consideration of this matter. It has raised a number of matters that are of concern to the Promoter. The issue of a specific klaxon noise is something which the Promoter has already sought to address, based on the existing use of klaxons by users of the railway in the immediate vicinity of Mr Boyes’ property. So far as additional use is concerned, caused by the GARL project, as we put it and you pointed out, Sir, that addition will simply be essential use of klaxons. There is, however, no mandatory requirement to use a klaxon in the immediate vicinity of Mr Boyes’ home, and the inference, therefore, is that it is used in the vicinity of Mr Boyes’s home at present under the discretionary powers that a driver would have. It is hoped – and this position has been made clear by the Promoter to Network Rail and to ScotRail – that that is not abused and the position of the promoter is very clear on that, that it should not be abused. So far as vibration is concerned, I can deal with that as a discrete topic. The conclusion of the Environmental Statement indicates that the level of vibration necessary for the minor cosmetic physical damage to property will not even be approached by the additional traffic on the railway caused by GARL. There will be additional occurrences of the level of PPV that has been referred to within – I think 0.5 is the level at which cosmetic damage may occur. We are way below that level. You will find that, Sir, in the passage that I made reference to in the Environmental Statement, if you give me a moment. It is page 13-9 of the Environmental Statement. So, Sir, on the matter of vibration again, as has been explained by Mr Fiumicelli, a vibration incident is something that is noticed. So far as damage is concerned, the GARL project does not approach a situation where damage is likely. Finally, on the matter of noise, whether it be generalised noise associated with the GARL project or specific noise associated with the use of klaxons, the precise location of noise monitoring stations has not, as yet, been determined. But certainly, the Promoter will have regard to Mr Boyes and indeed those whom he represents – other residents in the area. He will have regard to the fact that there is concern being expressed by these residents and will bear that in mind
in selecting a noise monitoring location. There is nothing, from the evidence of Mr Fiumicelli, which would prevent a location at or around Mr Boyes’ property being an appropriate monitoring location. In the event that his property or the areaaround his property is chosen, then the information will be made available to Mr Boyes. We have taken on board the request to make available not merely the locations of the monitoring station, but the results obtained from those monitoring stations with a view to greater public dissemination of that information. The suggestion made by Mr Boyes latterly in his presentation today, that it might be appropriate to have some form of regulation within the Bill regarding noise limits would, in my submission, be inappropriate in the context that this is a specific Railway Bill, with the intention of it becoming a specific Railway Act. It would be inappropriate to have a particular restriction on noise generation regulation within the context of this, where it is not more widely in place. As Mr Fiumicelli has indicated, not merely in the context of today’s evidence but in the context of earlier days’ evidence, there is guidance on the generation of noise from trains and advice on that matter. So far as the Promoter is concerned, it is the Promoter’s objective as evidenced by the Environmental Statement, to keep well within the guidance that is given more widely on that matter. So it would be my submission that the Bill should not be amended so as to contain a specific noise level or noise regime, if I can put it in that very generalised way in respect of this particular railway. Sir, those would be my concluding comments. Assessor: Can I just from my own information then be clear on this? The guidance and advice which is widely accepted as being appropriate, would this explicitly be incorporated as far as construction works are concerned in the Code of Construction Practice, and in terms of the operational aspect of the railway, would it be incorporated within the Policy on Noise and Vibration? And it is for that reason that we see no reason – not for that reason alone but that perhaps would provide the comfort that Mr Boyes is looking for? Mr Gale: I think even without referring it to these gentlemen, I can say yes to that. Assessor: Thank you very much indeed. I think, gentlemen, that this concludes this particular objection. Thank you all for your attendance, and thank you, Mr Boyes. [The Hearing concludes at 11.25 am]