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MARIBYRNONG City Council has branded the State Government’s draft Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise Policy good, but not good enough.
In a response to the government’s noise policy, the council fears many of the community’s concerns about increasing passenger and freight rail noise from the Regional Rail Link are falling on deaf ears.
The council is concerned that existing residential and commercial areas near rail corridors would need to have several triggers occur – such as a change in noise by three decibels – before they can expect any support for noise mitigation measures.
“The potential impact of a noise policy, as proposed, will benefit the community as it requires any statutory approval process to take account of rail noise, however, the lack of prescribed measures and the allocation of costs through the planning phase is likely to be unfavourable to councils,” the council response read.
“Many say that we who live in Maribyrnong should have known about noise… however, nobody could have expected to know the degree of expansion that would take place across road and rail networks over recent times.
“We argue for and support progressive development as it is vital to our community, however, it must be sustainable and above all consider our residents.”
The council has recommended that when there is sufficient evidence to show that the number of trains on a particular railway line has or will increase by 10 per cent, then the State Government should take action to determine the likely noise increase and implement noise mitigation measures.
Nick Fahey from the Fair Go for Footscray Rail Residents group said it was good to see the council taking a public stance on the issue, but admitted they should have been more active since plans for the Regional Rail Link were first unveiled.
Mr Fahey said the State Government’s draft noise policy should set an acceptable noise limit.
“It doesn’t change the underlying fact that there is noise along rail corridors,” he said.
“This is a kind of policy insertion to try and reduce the impact, but it doesn’t change the law. There is still no law, still no limit – these are advisories only.
“They’re better than nothing… but there’s no guarantee. We welcome the triggers that are used in New South Wales, but they’re simply triggers for further investigation, they’re not triggers for action.”
This article first appeared on www.starnewsgroup.com.au
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