Nicola is continuing her work with North Oxford residents to ensure they are protected from excessive rail noise as the new East West Rail line gets up and running. She has been working on this from the outset, representing locals who are worried about noise from the line running through Wolvercote and the Waterways.
Locals are concerned about Network Rail’s stated desire not to install silent track, despite this being a key commitment in the drive to reduce noise, and that the protections granted to the Wolvercote section are not mirrored at the Waterways. Network Rail have said that Silent Track would not provide value for money and that they are protecting residents through other means. And there are further concerns that should the line be further expanded, for example the number of trains increased, noise levels could exceed agreed thresholds and the City Council should move to ensure effective and regular noise monitoring.
Nicola has been in regular contact with the Council and the Department for Transport, she wrote to the Transport Secretary recently and received a detailed response from the Rail Minister which you can see here: letter-from-paul-maynard-december-2016
His letter sets out that it is for the City Council as the local planning authority to implement the planning conditions and they have the power to do so. The Minister was clear in the meeting that the Council have his full support in doing so, and he will be writing to them to detail this further and to discuss effective noise monitoring.
Nicola says: Everyone is in favour of improving our local rail services, and I am clear that we must press ahead with more and better public transport services to get as many cars as possible off our congested Oxfordshire roads. At the same time it’s only right that we all work together to ensure the original intentions of the planning conditions associated with noise and vibration are upheld. Its vital that the Council puts its powers into practice and holds Network Rail to account on their commitments.