New noise row over rail bridge
Now bid to relax noise rules made
Railway bosses are pressing for rules to limit noise from the Kerse Road bridge works to be relaxed, just weeks after securing planning permission.
Network Rail is already seeking to change a planning condition imposed by Stirling Council in a bid to protect residents of Nelson Place from noise.
The original condition said that, unless otherwise agreed with locals, construction works which could be heard outwith the site boundary could only take place within normal working hours – 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm on Saturday – and none on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
The company argue that the condition is unreasonable and unduly restrictive.
They are seeking a replacement condition which states: “Unless otherwise agreed in writing with the local planning authority, the construction works shall only operate between 7am and 7pm, with the exception of works which comprise start-up and close down activities, laying foundations, works involved with lifting in the proposed temporary bridge, piling works and other works which require possession of the railway.
“In the case of those exceptions works are not to be carried out for more than 60 hours within any 100-hour period.”
Network Rail argue that this would allow the works to be undertaken safely and road closures kept to a minimum, while “protecting the amenities of residents in Nelson Place”.
Residents, however, are worried by the prospect.
Householder Michael McCallum, a father of two children under the age of four, is extremely concerned by the potential long-term damage to the physical and mental health of his young family.
He said: “Network Rail have effectively chosen to totally ignore the fair, personcentred condition which was originally imposed by Stirling Council.
“Reading Network Rail’s representation closely, they have effectively placed no restrictions on their working whatsoever and intend to do whatever work they believe to be necessary at night.
“The proposed variation takes no account of the substantial damage the proposed delimitation of noise would do to the life of residents.
“As Stirling Council has previously imposed the condition in its original form I would suggest the councillors, who have carefully considered the application, fully understand the risks of nighttime noise and are trying to protect residents from its effects. For that I am grateful.
“There is a very considerable body of research available which makes it clear that even relatively short-lived nighttime noise, to the degree suggested by Network Rail, can have life-long effects on the health of those affected, including heart disease and mental ill-health.
“Even Network Rail’s own noise impact assessment by Morgan Sindall is clear that noise levels at night in Nelson Place would be extremely high for much of the works.”
In a submission with the application Network Rail’s Teresa Jackson said the condition would be “problematic”.
She added that a number of elements of the proposed work require temporary closure of the railway for safety reasons, which for operational reasons could only be undertaken overnight over the course of a weekend, which is not possible under the current condition.
“Other actions are also required to be undertaken outwith these times in order to maintain the programme and allow flexibility regarding unforeseen issues,” said Ms Jackson.
She said discussions had taken place with council planners and environmental health officers in a bid to resolve the issues before Network Rail came up with the proposed change.
Even short-lived nighttime noise can have life-long effects on the health