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Angie Bray AM: Nuisance noise at tube stations

Angie_bray_turnham_green_2 I recently led a delegation, including Assembly Member Tony Arbour and Val Weedon of the UK Noise Association, to Putney Bridge and Turnham Green tube stations to assess the scale of the problem of nuisance noise from public address systems.  This was in connection with my appointment as rapporteur for the Assembly’s Environment Committee to carry out a full investigation into nuisance noise at selected tube stations.

For some considerable time my mailbag, and those of my colleagues, had been making it clear that excessively loud and unnecessary PA announcements at tube stations across London was making life a misery for many local residents and tube users.  The UK Noise Association in a recent study found that noise levels on a Piccadilly Line train can typically reach nearly 100 decibels, which is “louder than a jet landing at Heathrow” . It has been acknowledged that levels of stress and heart disease can be adversely affected by excessive noise and so it was evident to me that this was an issue which needed addressing for a significant number of Londoners.  Following concerted pressure from me, Transport for London had recognised that there was a problem – but recognition alone was not enough.  They needed to do more to ensure that the problems of noisy announcements at stations across London were resolved – and at the earliest opportunity.  This formal investigation is helping me to take the matter forward.

Following my visits to Putney Bridge and Turnham Green, I met senior managers from TfL last week to demand urgent action.  As a result of this meeting they are now taking the issue seriously.  They have pledged to be more responsive to residents' complaints, and are introducing a staff training manual on PA systems and pilot schemes to test sound barriers.  It is essential, of course, that we ensure they follow this up with some real changes, and put an end to this misery once and for all.  My full report is due to be published in February.


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