Notice served to noisy Central Belt freight trains

STEPS to reduce the noise of freight trains operating through the Central Belt of Scotland during the night that were found to be disrupting residents and breaching the guidelines of the World Health Organisation have been taken further, with an abatement notice to be enforced.

Residents living near the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine line have raised concerns over noise levels generated by passing freight trains. Picture: Robert Perry

A number of angered residents living nearby the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine (SAK) railway track lodged complaints to Stirling Council about the noise and vibration of freight trains passing by during the night - mainly transporting coal to Longannet Power Station near Kincardine.

A report was published in November last year by Stirling Council which showed the findings of a Noise and Vibration assessment, that was carried out in the specified area, in July 2014.

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It found that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) guidelines - which advise night-time noise should not exceed 60 decibels - was being exceeded by 20-30 decibels in many of the locations surveyed along the line due to the trains.

Stirling Council officers are taking further action to implement the instruction that there is to be further engagement with – and enforcement action against – Network Rail and freight operators who use the Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine (SAK) railway line.

Environment Convener, Councillor Danny Gibson, said: “This has been an ongoing saga for residents living alongside the line and though the serving of this notice is not necessarily the end of the matter I hope it will be a sign of how seriously the council takes their concerns and how determined we are to see this matter resolved in their favour.

“The process now is that we ensure the abatement notice is served as soon as possible.

“This may be subject to challenge, but we will face that if and when that arises.

“As far as I am concerned we have responded to residents’ concerns by undertaking appropriate testing, and we now have proof that there are definite nuisance issues associated with this line.

“On behalf of our residents we will strive to see that situation resolved.”

Residents have complained in the past about the high levels of noise coming from the track and some even said it was causing their properties to shake.

The investigation last year revealed typical background noise levels between 1.00am and 6.00am were in the range of 30-40 decibels.

However, freight trains that operate at this time have maximum noise levels of between 75-90 decibels, giving a large difference between event noise levels and general background sound.

The report stated that the trains may not appear to be as noisy during the day because background noise tends generally to be higher.

The SAK railway line re-opened in 2008 after being disused for a number of years.

The line is generally used by passenger services between Alloa and Glasgow and the freight services - which have been running at night since December 2008.