Sep 11 2012 By Carl Gavaghan
PROTESTERS against the High Speed 2 rail line are angry over the way the company behind it will measure the potential impact of noise from its trains.
It follows a Scope and Methodology report that has been published by HS2 Ltd after a consultation on how to minimise the environmental impact of the line.
However, Stop HS2 co-ordinator Joe Rukin said that the group is far from happy with some of the methods that will be used to assess the environmental impact.
He said: "Ever since campaigners first found out the plan over two years ago, they have been incensed by the idea that noise assessments will be made on the basis of average noise.
"So if you have a train going past every four minutes, you make up a noise figure for the, say 30 seconds, of the train going past then add on the three and a half minutes of silence and average the whole thing out to get the noise levels.
"This completely ignores the way the human (and other species) brain works, in that a constant noise is far easier to deal with in terms of mental health and sleep than a sudden noise from nowhere.
"While HS2 Ltd have said they will measure peak noise, they intend to stick with the outdated legislation in terms of where noise barriers have to go."
The consultation document, which included 166 groups and organisations, also looked at the impact the project would have on things such as air quality, climate, noise and traffic.
A HS2 spokesman said: "We will use both the equivalent continuous sound level and the maximum sound level as part of assessing the potential effects of noise from passing trains.
"The equivalent continuous sound level is a proven and widely established indicator of railway noise and is not the 'average sound level'.
"The indicator is used in legislation and is biased towards the highest sound levels during its measurement period."
He added that the maximum sound level as a train passes will also be used as an indicator in the assessment.