I have been contacted by a constituent who has received a letter from Network Rail concerning proposed night-time tree felling along the length of the Romford to Upminster branch line (Run by TfL). The resident is concerned that undertaking this sort of work during the hottest part of the year when people are most likely to need their windows open at night will cause severe sleep disruption to many people.
“…..tree felling and vegetation removal with the use of battery operated chainsaws,flail machines, chipping machines or handsaws” (and no doubt floodlights) during the times of- 1st July to 5th July 22.22-05.50, 9th July to 12th July 00.30-05.05, 15th July to 19th July 22.22-05.50, so as not to affect train users.”
Whilst a short section at the Upminster end of the line runs adjacent to London Underground track and another short section at the Romford end is adjacent to other overground lines, the rest is a single track away from any other rail lines. The line is well used but is served by a single train which serves three stations along approximately five miles of track, twice in each direction per hour.
Taking this all into account, I have three main points –
1) I feel that it is inappropriate to undertake what will undoubtedly be very noisy work for 14 nights in the middle of the summer, when the line could be closed at weekends for a shorter number of days if the work time ran longer each day.
2) If it is not practical to undertake the work at weekends, could the start time each night be brought forward to say 1900 hrs (after the rush hour and when the line has lesser use) and finish at midnight, thereby reducing the sleep disruption of residents?
3) In addition, I understand that the government commissioned a report on Network Rail’s tree felling programs last year and that one of its recommendations was for you to plan to minimise damage to biodiversity. What measures have been undertaken at the planning stage to ensure that this happens?
I would ask that the plans for these works be re-assessed to take into account the negative impact on residents sleep compared to the relatively minor disruption were the line to be closed over weekends or during weekday evenings, when the line has least use.
I would appreciate it if someone directly concerned with the project contacts me directly by e-mail or phone regarding this matter.
Cllr John Tyler