Crossrail is a major rail project, currently under construction, that will link railway services either side of London, complementing the existing Underground services, and providing fast links into and across London. It is currently the largest rail project in Europe.
RPS was appointed by Crossrail Ltd to provide noise and vibration consultancy services, including staff on secondment, for what is now the largest construction noise and vibration assessment in the UK since the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) in the 1990s.
We prepared the noise sections of the environmental statement and subsequent supplementary environmental statements including noise and vibration and subsurface ground-borne noise and vibration assessments for the EIA, for the construction and operation of the scheme. We are one of the few consultancies in the UK that has sufficient resources to carry out such an extensive monitoring scheme.
The construction noise assessment methodology adopted has since been published as example guidance in BS 5228-1:2009.
The main noise and vibration concerns were associated with extensive and long-term construction activities, carried out on a 24/7 basis. The scale of the scheme required extensive baseline monitoring, across all sections at over 200 locations.
Due to the nature of the built environment in London, this project required us to work in tightly constrained areas which presented several access challenges. Operating in residential areas, or other particularly sensitive areas when assessing ground borne noise from the underground trains also required a pragmatic approach to prevent disruption.
The team started with work on route selection, continued with extensive baseline noise surveys, moved on to noise and vibration predictions and assessments and finally provided input to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Statement (ES) that then led on to Select Committee.
Following the noise assessments to support the selection of the preferred scheme, consultation was carried out with each local authority to select key sensitive receptors, where baseline noise surveys were to be carried out and to agree the assessment methodology.
These survey locations included residential properties, schools, colleges and hospitals. The resulting schedule resulted in some 300 periods of monitoring being carried out, many of which were over seven-day periods. These were necessary to define the baseline environment so that the significance of effects could be appropriately assessed in accordance with the EIA Regulations.
For the operation of Crossrail, predictive models were used to quantify the noise at the noise-sensitive receptors. This included noise from depots and ventilation shafts.
Our support didn’t end with the submission of the ES; our expert witness provided advice to the Crossrail Select Committee through the Parliamentary process, where noise and vibration effects were key issues. This resulted in the Crossrail Bill being passed and the project gaining Royal Assent in 2008. We continued to provide guidance for the detailed design and construction stages.
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