Tube noise complaints treble

The number of Londoners complaining about noise from passing tube trains has gone up threefold since 2012, new figures reveal. Residents in the capital report sleepless nights, problems renting out their properties, and inadequate responses from Transport for London. Andrew Dismore AM, the Assembly Member who requested the figures from the Mayor, said TfL needed to “up their game” when it came to supporting those affected.


In 2012 TfL received 322 complaints, but this had leapt to 963 by 2016. At a London Assembly Environment Committee in March of this year, residents reported noise to the level of 52 decibels, which is 12 decibels above the level recommended by The World Health Organisation. Their Night Noise Guidelines state that “adverse health effects are observed at noise levels exceeding 40dB”.


Some Londoners have reported that the introduction of the Night Tube has exacerbated the problem. One resident in Archway told a recent London Assembly Environment Committee meeting that what might be acceptable as background noise during the day becomes a rumbling which prevents sleep at night. Another explained that those with basement or ground floor properties near the lines have had to move, and are struggling to rent them out.


All of those at the meeting said the communication from TfL was problematic. Luce Jacovella, who lives in Euston, said she had written to TfL every week for months but was told her case had slipped through the net. When work did begin, it was delayed a number of times, and Ms Jacovella was not kept informed. While the noise remains at current levels Ms Jacovella is unable to sleep in her home and has been staying elsewhere. TfL admitted that they were not meeting expectations, and that the organisation needed to be better.


Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, Andrew Dismore AM, said:


“Unfortunately I am not in the least bit surprised that complaints are going up.


“Many of my constituents have experienced the consequences of tube noise in their home, and have been very disappointed with TfL’s response. It is clear they do not have a proper process in place to deal with noise complaints. Proposed solutions, such as a fence at East Finchley to reduce the noise impact on residents, have been rejected.


“Whilst the tube, and the new Night Tube, is of course vital to the capital, we cannot side-line the needs of those who live near the tracks. TfL need to up their game and ensure everything that can be done to help residents is done, and is done quickly.”