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Railhub Archive
1995-07-13 DoT-002
Department of Transport


Mr Watts announces noise relief measures for new railway lines

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Department of Transport

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Department of Transport

Mr Watts announces noise relief measures for new railway lines

13 July 1995
source Department of Transport
type Press release

note 213

Noise Insulation Regulations giving protection to residents living
alongside new railway lines were laid before Parliament today. This
will put them on an equal footing to residents living next to new
roads who are already protected

In answer to a Parliamentary Question from Jacques Arnold MP
(Gravesham), John Watts, Minister for Railways and Roads said:

"Although I fully expect developers of new railway lines to take all
practical measures to reduce railway noise at source, there will
inevitably be instances where this may not be possible or

"The new regulations will create a duty, in the case of new lines and
additional tracks constructed alongside existing lines, to provide
insulation, or a grant for the costs of carrying out insulation work,
when noise exceeds certain levels. They also give a discretionary
power to offer insulation in the case of certain alterations to
existing railway lines," he said.

"With a number of new railway projects either planned or under
construction, it is only fair and proper that people who live
alongside these lines should have a similar degree of statutory noise
protection that their neighbours living near new roads have
benefitted from over the last 20 years."

In the case of existing railway lines, which now carry new Channel
Tunnel rail traffic, noise mitigation schemes have been agreed
between BR/Railfreight Distribution and Kent and Surrey County
Councils and the London Borough of Bromley. Under these schemes
acoustic barriers are being erected at affected locations alongside
existing lines to and from the Channel Tunnel. They are being
jointly funded by the organisations involved with Government

Commenting on the initiative, Mr Watts said:

"I would like to see BR/Railfreight Distribution actively entering
into similar agreements with other local authorities whose areas
might be similarly affected in future."


1. The new regulations were subject to extensive public consultation
between October 1993 and February 1994. They were based on "Railway
Noise and the Insulation of Dwellings" published in February 1991 by
an independent committee of experts (Mitchell Committee) appointed by
the Department of Transport in 1990.

2. The new noise levels are:

68 dB L Aeq 18h for day-time, which is defined as the 18 hours
between 0600 and midnight;

63 dB L Aeq 6h for night-time, which is defined as the 6 hours
between midnight and 0600.

3. Various scales and indices can be used to describe the
variability of a fluctuating noise level. The LA10 level (the noise
level in dBA exceeded for 10% of the time) is used for measuring road
traffic noise in the UK. For the purpose of the Noise Insulation
Regulations, which are applicable for road traffic, the index used is
the arithmetic average of the 18 hourly values of LA10 determined
over the period from 6am until midnight on a normal working day. The
noise index formed by this average is written LA10 18h.

4. The equivalent continuous sound level, LAeq, which is
particularly suitable for describing a noise which consists of
occasional short periods of noise between long relatively quiet
periods, has been adopted for the assessment of railway noise. LAeq
describes the level of (hypothetically) steady sound that, over the
period of measurement, would deliver the same noise energy as the
actual intermittent or time varying noise. When quoting the LAeq it
is important to stipulate the time period over which the measure
applies. For example, if the time period is 24 hours, the equivalent
continuous noise level is usually written LAeq 24h.

5. Noise measurements generally use the logarithmic scale of the
decibel (dB). The sensitivity of the human ear is not uniform and,
to take account of this, weighting can be used to reflect the varying
emphasis given by the ear. The most widely used is the A- weighting;
hence "dBA."

6. The jointly funded voluntary noise mitigation schemes have
been agreed between BR/Railfreight Distribution and local authorities
whose areas have been affected by noise from Channel Tunnel traffic.
More than #2m in Supplementary Credit Approvals has been allocated by
the Government to the schemes that have already been agreed; other
schemes are currently under negotiation.

7. Copies of the Regulations and the Technical Memorandum
"Calculation of Railway Noise 1995" (ISBN 0-11-551754-5) are
available from HMSO.

Public Enquiries: 0171 276 0800

# = pounds sterling

Railhub Archive ::: 1995-07-13 DoT-002


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