FOI request detail

FOI Request - Hearing Protection Policy

Request ID: FOI-1662-1819
Date published: 18 October 2018

You asked

Dear FOI Officer, Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I would like to know: What policy does Transport for London have, if any, on reducing noise on the London Underground and protecting the hearing of customers? Should you require further clarification, I can be contacted by this email. I look forward to hearing from you within 20 working days, as stated in the Act.

We answered

TfL Ref: 1662-1819

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 20 September 2018 asking for information about a noise and hearing policy for customers using the London Underground.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm that we hold the information you require.

We understand the importance of minimising noise levels for neighbours and customers, and monitor noise levels across the Tube network and carry out practical solutions wherever possible.

TfL’s Track Engineering team is looking into mitigation measures to address airborne noise produced across the network, having already carried out an industry-first rail dampening trial to convert vibrations from trains into heat rather than soundwaves, in order to reduce noise.

Measures require extensive testing and assessment to ensure they are safe to be installed on the operational railway and are often bespoke by nature due to the complexity of how noise is caused and how sound travels.

We have been exploring the use of rail dampeners at selected locations which aim to minimise airborne noise in tunnels for customers. Additionally, noise barriers to help residents on surface sections of the network are being explored, however, this will have to be done on a case-by-case approach due to significant cost implications.

To minimise noise for residents, our Track Engineering team is installing more resilient track fastenings and shock absorbent fixings, which‎ help reduce ground borne noise when the trains run over the rails.

The only policy we have which falls within the scope of your request is our Rail noise and vibration - customer complaints handling process.  Please see copy attached.

Please note that in accordance with TfL’s obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London


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