My name is Dr. Luce Jacovella, While the Mayor of London is celebrating one year of night tube and its economic success, its casualties are never mentioned. These are the residents that are forced to live the slogan ‘London city that never sleeps’, literally. I have been living in the same flat over the Victoria Line for 9 years without any problem until August 2016. Suddenly, the noise from the tube below my flat became unbearable. It was so loud, I could not even have a conversation because the noise was  louder than normal speech. This day and night. I have tried to seek help from every authority that has a say on this matter. Like many other London residents, who are affected by raising tube noise, I have asked help to TfL, to my Council, to the members of the London Assembly. The response has been unsatisfactory, at best. TfL has ignored my complaint for over 8 months despite I was writing every week and the noise they measured was over 52dB, with 85dB of vibrations. When they could not ignore my case anymore, they slowly started remedy works with very poor results. In addition, TfL has denied to acknowledge the damage denying me help with temporary accommodation. TfL has left  me with no option than couch surfing with friends to sleep. I have been forced to leave my flat in order to survive. Depriving someone of sleep, however, is alike to torture.Despite unlimited financial resources, TfL hides behind section 122 of the Road Rail Act 1993 which gives TfL immunity towards ‘statutory nuisance’.  My local Council (Camden) after over six months of homelessness has offered me a temporary accommodation in a crack house! London Assembly members say that 'they are trying'. The Mayor has simply ignored my plea. The consequences of sleep deprivation and forced homelessness are horrendous. TfL has deprived me of my human rights, but the Council and the London Assembly has not done much to help me. The result is that after over one year, I am a tax paying homeless. Regards, Luce
Tube noise and vibration Short summary of issues raised with Environment Committee Incidence The issues spread across London but are concentrated centrally. The Night Tube lines are generating the most complaints: the Northern, Victoria, Central, Piccadilly and Jubilee. Most of the issues are with ground-borne noise and vibration from underground and sub-surface lines. Complaints have increased recently. The two main causes seem to be the Night Tube, which means that the same noise level is much more disruptive of sleep, and the replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete ones. Effects TfL has measured noise levels at 52 decibels (dB) inside homes, with even greater levels coming when two trains pass at once or in residents’ own readings. This far exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels (35dB on average for reasonable sleep, with peak noise events not exceeding 45dB).1 There have also been complaints of serious disturbance at lower measured noise levels. Vibration, transmitted through buildings to fittings, furniture and people, also has significant effects. Sleep disturbance has the most severe effects on quality of life. Even without the Night Tube and overnight maintenance works, there may be quiet only for a five-hour period at night. From the noise and lack of sleep, people reported constant headaches, hearing damage, tinnitus, fainting, falling asleep during conversations, anxiety, doing less well at work and fearing for their jobs and for the effects on others of impaired performance. Finding the disturbance unbearable, or on medical advice, people have moved out of their homes, some sleeping on sofas. Few have other accommodation, or are able to sell or rent their noise- blighted homes. Some have lost income from room rental. Complaints and TfL’s complaint handling The people who contacted the committee said that there were many other people affected. Many were speaking on behalf of resident groups or of neighbours who were less able to communicate with TfL. Many people have not been satisfied with parts or all of their responses from TfL. Issues have included: -  Slow or incomplete responses -  Complaints being under-counted or not properly recorded -  Responses initially brushing off or playing down the issue -  Poor investigation of the issues, for example being slow to visit the property, refusing to visit during rush hour when the problem is worst, or giving incorrect figures for noise measurements 1 http://www.noisenet.org/Noise_Enviro_WHO.htm - Unsatisfactory decision-making following investigation, such as deciding not to intervene where noise levels were not deemed high enough, or taking over a year to decide to intervene TfL action There are noise-reducing measures that can be carried out on the track, including shock- absorbent track fastenings, jointless rails, grinding rails smooth, and potentially redesigning track layouts. TfL said its regular track maintenance programme amounted to £200 million a year, and the programme for this year and the previous two has been at twice this level to fund noise reduction. The Mayor’s Noise Strategy calls on TfL to minimise noise and vibration, take account of resident and other complaints, and bring infrastructure up to the best modern practice TfL has not so far managed to solve the problems. Issues raised with the committee include: -  Promised action being delayed or not taken -  Action taken not (fully and permanently) resolving the problem TfL said that there was no financial constraint on how quickly it could carry out works – that the main constraint was the access time to tracks. It did not seem to have any plans to increase the number of its maintenance teams or machines so it could deliver more work in its limited access time. There is a debate on whether TfL should prioritise work where measured noise levels are worst, or set a specific noise level to trigger action. TfL prefers to seek to solve all complaints, but has sought to prioritise by noise level at times in the past. TfL now has a planned intervention for every complaint older than 90 days. Not all complainants know the cause of their noise problems or the planned solution. TfL told the committee and residents at the meeting that it would be happy to provide its engineering reports to the residents concerned. Committee members asked that they be provided with details of the mitigation and the timescale for each complaint, suitably anonymised. Impact reduction and compensation TfL does not appear to have a compensation scheme, or a scheme to offer people alternative accommodation while problems are resolved. These have been offered in some comparator cases such as Crossrail and High Speed Two. 
26.08.2017
Kevin Lee
No comments
The Mayor has opened a consultation for London's transport strategy.  Found here.  The consultation close 2 Oct 2017.  Tube noise must be considered in this.  Please complete the survery and/or write in to: consultations@tfl.gov.uk See the tube noise action group's response below: The Tube Noise Action Group welcomes the opportunity to comment on the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy for London. We welcome the Mayor’s emphasis on improving public transport and the benefits to residents’ health that this initiative promises. The Tube Noise Action Group (see www.tubenoiseactiongroup.com ) is an informal mutually supporting group of Londoners who are adversely affected by the growing levels of noise and vibration pollution arising from London Underground’s (LUL) operations. Groups are located across London – in the central areas of the City, Westminster and Kensington/Chelsea but also in Camden, Haringey, Lambeth and Redbridge. We have no doubt that residents in other London Boroughs are similarly affected. We recognise and support the Mayor’s commitment to reducing air pollution and the need to reduce vehicle movements and increase the use of electric traction – including use of the underground. However, the Tube Noise Action Group advocates raising the priority, in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, of reducing another significant source of pollution and nuisance with proven adverse consequences on health and well-being: noise pollution. We, like other Londoners, have been increasingly concerned by the growing noise and vibration transmitted to homes by London Underground’s trains. These concerns are likely to grow as London Underground increases the frequency of its train running (eg through the upgrading of the sub-surface lines in its 4LM plan) and the duration of train operations (Night Tube).  Clearly, it’s in the interests of all Londoners that London Underground is able to extend the duration and increase the intensity of its train operations and this promises to make a significant contribution to reducing air pollution. However, this must not take place at the expense of residents who are already suffering significant noise and vibration pollution from the current tempo of operations which already exceed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) norms. Our experience, based on what we suffer daily in our homes and have learned through numerous unproductive meetings with LUL, is that TfL has done too little to discharge its mandate to reduce noise pollution. Regrettably, we have formed the conclusion that it has no intention of implementing policies commensurate with the miserable experience it is daily, and nightly, inflicting on many London residents. The Mayor’s established policy on noise remains that set out in the GLA’s 2004 “Sounder City. The Mayor’s Ambient Noise Strategy”. This states that: (policy 25 page 109) “The Mayor will expect Transport for London to develop cost-effective plans…. To minimise noise and vibration through improvements in the design, operation, monitoring and maintenance of transport infrastructure”; (policy 26 page 109); “taking account of resident and other complaints in assessing the need for remedial treatment”; (4B.23); “one of the legacies of historic under-resourcing is poor track quality in many parts of the Underground”; (4B.25); “infrastructure needs to be brought up to best modern practice” (4B.4)  Noise nuisance has increased significantly in many locations. In many cases it is not clear why this has taken place – and LUL has offered no explanation. On the sub-surface lines we believe that the new trains run faster and, as ridership increases, the trains are more heavily loaded thus increasing noise and vibration. But it is not clear why noise levels have risen on deep level lines. London Underground’s (LUL) own measurements in residents’ homes across London have shown noise levels of 50db+ inside homes. This level is for a single train and underestimates the noise pollution actually experienced inside homes since LUL (for good operational reasons since it seeks to identify particularly noisy individual trains) discounts measured levels generated when two trains pass simultaneously. Noise levels thus comfortably exceed 50db in some homes.  World Health Organisation (WHO) night noise guidelines state that “adverse health effects are observed at noise levels between 40 and 55db”. The WHO regards night as “the time most people are in bed” – clearly this includes the times – say later than 2300 and later than 0530 when normal LUL train operations are continuing on nights and lines when/where night tube services are not operating. The WHO Levels when two trains pass probably exceed 55db when the WHO states “Adverse health effects occur frequently. A sizeable proportion of the population is highly annoyed and sleep disturbed”.  The relevant British Standard, BS ISO 14837-1:2005 notes (para 5.3. note 1) that “people lying on beds may also perceive ground-borne noise/vibration at much lower levels” and that (para 6.3 note 3) “Ground-borne noise levels predicted or measured near the walls of a room may be 2dB or 3dB greater than those near the centre”. Accordingly, the Tube Noise Action Group whilst welcoming the emphasis in the draft transport strategy on increasing provision of public transport and increasing investment in public transport infrastructure and operations, asks that specific provisions are made in the strategy to require London Underground to adopt best modern practice in upgrading its tracks (eg continuously welded rail; resilient noise and vibration reducing fixings such as Pandrol Vanguard clips; sleeper pads etc) and to prioritise track upgrading in areas where there is a long standing history of nuisance caused by pollution from LUL’s operations. The London Assembly Environment Committee referred to an “epidemic” of noise pollution arising from LUL’s operations and Tube Noise Action Group believes that the Mayor’s Transport Strategy should prioritise reducing the “epidemic” of noise pollution and nuisance arising from LUL’s operations.  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #222222} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Arial; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #222222; background-color: #ffffff; min-height: 11.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #222222; min-height: 15.0px} p.p4 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #222222; background-color: #ffffff} p.p5 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 9.5px Arial; color: #222222; -webkit-text-stroke: #222222; min-height: 11.0px} p.p6 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 10.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000; min-height: 15.0px} p.p7 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 10.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} span.s2 {text-decoration: underline ; font-kerning: none; color: #1155cc; -webkit-text-stroke: 0px #1155cc} span.s3 {font-kerning: none; background-color: #ffffff} We are happy to provide any further information that may be of use to the Mayor on request. 
See the article here.
Thank you to those below who went to the London Assembley and testified before the environmental committee.  It would seem the heartfelt testimony made a big impact. Also, if you emailed the environmental committee, well done.  It is critical that they understand this is a London wide issue and not just constrainded to a few locations.  We had representatives from: Covent Garden, Barbican Association, Euston, Marylebone, Archway, Seven Sisters, Mornington Crescent If you haven't emailed the environmental committee yet, please do so now.  It doesn't have to be a long email.  A few sincere lines will do.  (Just copy/paste what many of you have written to me, anything is better than nothing.  The committee emails are below.  This is important as Is it an issue they may take up and have the power to make changes.  Writing in will have a higher impact/effort ratio than anything else we will likely do in the near future on this issue. leonie.cooper@london.gov.uk Nicky.Gavron@london.gov.uk david.kurten@london.gov.ukCaroline.Russell@london.gov.ukTony.Arbour@london.gov.ukShaun.Bailey@london.gov.ukJennette.Arnold@london.gov.uk The video of the committee meeting and testimony is online here.   The minutes can be found here when posted. Also, thank you to those who repsoned to the request for an interview.  The modus operendi of the press is to give very little notice for an interview e.g. same day onsite, 1h for phone interview.  Perhaps give it some thought now and if/when the next request comes in, be ready to accommodate. Murad Qureshi as former LA member has submitted this blog post. An excellent BBC interview is found here, thank you to Ian and Luce for volunteering on short notice. See updated map of impacted areas here.  I have made the effort to place the markers in general neighbourhoods and not on specific address.  You can see how widespread this issue is.  If I am missing anyone, let me know.
A reminder that a meeting with Tony Devenish and TfL is on Date : 2nd August 2016Time : 6.30pmVenue: Baker Street Station (Meeting Room above Baker Street Station)   The office is best approached by 13 Allsop Pl (not inside Baker St Station) come if you can, would be good to have some numbers here.
From: Maura.Ryan-Dommergue@london.gov.uk "I am contacting you to confirm that we have now identified a date for you and residents to meet Tony Devenish AM and TfL, to discuss noise coming from the Tube and concerns around the introduction of Night Tube. A meeting has been arranged for residents in the Baker Street area as follows: Date : 2nd August 2016 Time : 6.30pm Venue: Baker Street Station (Meeting Room above Baker Street Station)      I would be grateful if you could pass this email invitation on to your neighbours and it would be helpful if you could confirm your attendance as space is limited. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards. Maura RSO to Tony Devenish AM GLA Assembly Member for West Central (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, City of Westminster)
Dear Noise Action Groups, Thank you for your email of 22 July regarding Tube noise. I completely recognise the importance and sensitivity of the issues you have raised and I have asked for reassurance that Transport for London (TfL) is doing everything it can on the ground to address your concerns.  I am aware that in the next fortnight the TfL team are meeting with residents and Tony Devenish AM to discuss concerns around Baker Street, Notting Hill Gate and Pimlico; and with Caroline Pidgeon AM and residents in the Woodford area.  The team will also keep in very close touch with boroughs, elected representatives, residents and local user groups as Night Tube commences. I am also happy to meet with you along with the TfL engineering teams to discuss your concerns face-to-face and the plans to address them.  I have asked TfL to work with you on a date as soon as possible.  In the meantime, I will briefly address some of your specific points here, but we can discuss them in more detail when we meet. With regard to the condition of the tracks and infrastructure, there has been a significant amount of preparatory work undertaken to ensure they are in the best possible condition ahead of Night Tube. This is in addition to the regular and continuous process of renewal and maintenance undertaken by London Underground. In the lead up to Night Tube, TfL has increased investment in its renewal and maintenance and in the last couple of years has renewed almost 70km of track and ground or re-railed more than 450km of rail. I have asked that TfL take you through, in detail, the work done to date and the forward plan for further maintenance when we meet. You also mention deployment of shock absorbent track fixings. This is a relatively new technology which gave good results in a recent pilot. TfL is now installing them in other locations as soon as possible, although the fixings are not suitable for all areas of track.  The new track fixings are to be installed at the following locations on the Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines – the months shown are estimated completion dates for the work:  Holland Park to Notting Hill Gate Eastbound (Central line) – August 2016 Baker Street to St. John’s Wood Southbound (Jubilee line) – September 2016 Wanstead to Leytonstone (Central line) – September 2016 Pimlico to Victoria Northbound (Victoria line) – October 2016 Stockwell to Vauxhall Southbound (Victoria line) – January 2017 A section between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green was recently completed and early indications from residents suggest that the installation has resulted in a significant decrease in noise. I hope that this will be the experience of residents living close to all these areas of track. TfL will be re-visiting residents upon completion of installation to determine how successful this has been and I will be receiving regular reports about the results.  You also referred to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for noise. The principle behind them is to inform new developments. Parts of London Underground are over 150 years old, which means design and construction technologies and core materials are at least as old. However, these locations, particularly in residential areas, are prioritised for maintenance and improvement work wherever possible. That is not to detract in any way from the very legitimate concerns you have, but is simply to describe the balance TfL is seeking to strike between delivering the Night Tube service London needs whilst minimising the impact on their neighbours. I am committed to full transparency on this and to ensuring that the process TfL has in place to respond to concerns and complaints about noise and any other issues is effective. Once the Night Tube service is up and running I will be monitoring the performance of the service on a daily basis, including on issues such as noise.    Thank you again for writing to me, and I look forward to meeting you soon, Yours sincerely, Val  VAL SHAWCROSS CBE DEPUTY MAYOR FOR TRANSPORT #LondonIsOpen GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY NOTICE: The information in this email may contain confidential or privileged materials. For more information see http://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/email-notice
Dear Val Shawcross and Tony Devenish, cc: joanne.mccartney@london.gov.uk, keith.prince@london.gov.uk sadiq.khan@london.gov.uk, mikebrown@tfl.gov.uk, vernoneveritt@tfl.gov.uk, georgemcinulty@tfl.gov.uk, dylanbeeson@tfl.gov.uk, Link to Letter We are sending this e-mail and attached letter on behalf of all London residents whose peace and quiet have been severely affected by the ongoing underground and airborne tube noise and vibrations to date. We would like to thank you for raising the London Tube Noise and Vibration problem at the Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) session on July 20th, 2016. For reference, we are providing the exact minutes of the discussions in Annex 1 of the attached letter. We, as a collective group, agree that many of the responses and comments provided by the Mayor were inadequate and, in some cases, inaccurate, completely dismissing the fact that the launch of the Night Tube on August 19th, 2016 will only exacerbate the current painful 19-hour exposure to continuous, vexatious, unhealthy noise emanating from the tube in the various affected areas across London. While it was claimed during MQT that “everyone”, including the Mayor, is fully supportive of the launch of the Night Tube, all affected residents agree that there should not be any launch of the Night Tube until: TfL successfully completes the claimed noise reduction programme in all areas affected and not just in the high priority areas of Notting Hill Gate, Baker Street and Marylebone, with clear, noticeable and measurable reduction in noise and vibration levels in line with WHO guidelines TfL adequately and transparently monitors the impact of the noise reduction programme on the reduction in the noise and vibration from the tube in all affected areas for an agreed period of time Committing to launch the Night Tube before ensuring that the current tube noise and vibration concerns and complaints raised to date are adequately addressed in a sustainable manner can only be construed as a clear sign that the Mayor’s Office and TfL are not openly responding to the critical concerns raised with various official parties to date and not respecting each and every affected resident’s right to peace and quiet within the walls of his / her home, especially when those tube noises and vibrations were not noticeable – and in many cases non-existent in the past. We all demand that the London Tube Noise and Vibration problem is successfully resolved, with noticeable and measurable reduction in noise and vibration levels in line with WHO guidelines with the utmost urgency before the launch of the Night Tube. Our attached letter also addresses our collective reaction to the inadequate and, in some cases, inaccurate responses and comments provided by the Mayor. All affected residents are looking forward to hearing back from the Mayor’s office as well as from TfL with utmost urgency. Yours sincerely, Tube Noise Action Group Bethnal Green Tube Noise Action Group Marylebone Tube Noise Action Group Notting Hill Tube Noise Action Group Seven Sisters Tube Noise Action Group Walthamstow Tube Noise Action Group Woodford Green