Right to Quiet Society Noiseletter
Fall 2007 - page 5

Who study

Two in every hundred deaths from heart disease may be caused by stress related to noise, says a study that suggests thousands of people in Britain may be dying from a lack of peace and quiet. Research from the World Health Organisation has shown the striking contribution of noise to premature deaths from disease. Noise is linked to heart attack and stroke because it creates chronic stress that keeps our bodies in a state of constant alert. Even when somebody is asleep, their ears, brain and body continue to react to sounds, raising levels of stress hormones.

Train drivers must help silent nights

Thousands of people whose lives have been blighted by noisy train horns have been offered respite by Network Rail. The company, which is responsible for railway track, has bowed to pressure from MPs and imposed new rules on the drivers. They have been told that they should no longer sound their train horns as a matter of routine between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when approaching the nation’s 2,800 footpath crossings. Their change of heart follows a

 

prolonged campaign by MPs in the UK, deluged by constituents whose lives were made a misery by the train horns. Under the old guidelines drivers were told to sound their horn as a warning whenever they passed a trackside whistleboard, which warned of a potential hazard, such as a level crossing.

—The Weekly Telegraph


Successful action to curb industrial noise


Last spring I contacted you [Right to Quiet Society] about the noise emanating from the power take-off on the transmissions of tanker trucks blowing lime into two large silos located below my house, and across the street from a large condominium complex.

Before I continue I must tell you that Ashcroft is a very noisy town. Located on the edges of the Thompson River, both CN and CP have tracks along its banks and are very audible. However, the trains are transitory, making a noise that lasts only for a few minutes at most. The lime silos are located on a CP site and have been in place for at least 30 years.

In the past, they have been used infrequently. Then, Graymont Industries, owner of the mine at Pavilion, began to utilize the silos on a regular basis. This required tanker trucks, operated by Westcan Transport, to transport to and then transfer 44,000 pounds of lime into the silos. The process used is to blow the lime through a 6” pipe up into the silo, and takes 2 hours to complete. The noise was very annoying, occurred six days per week for up to fifteen hours per day and was well audible inside my house. I took steps to deal with this “noise-ance”.

First, I contacted a local village councillor. She arranged for me to appear before village council with my complaint. She gave me three days to put together a dossier. I had an incomplete diary of the times and duration of the noise. My husband was in the Royal Inland Hospital for two months, so I spent a lot of time away from home. I also collected signatures on a petition. The result was a letter telling me that the village could do nothing. I continued to notify them with weekly logs, via email, for 6 months.

During that time I received absolutely no response, and one councillor even snubbed me publicly. This is a rather odd thing for a politician to do.

 

The second step was to contact the company, Graymont Industries, via the president, Anthony Graham. Graymont Industries, the owner of the silos, was much more responsive. Graham forwarded my complaint. Within days the manager of the mine at Pavilion, Al Lucas, contacted me and explained the process. His superior, Wayne Kenefick, Director of Sustainable Development, also responded. Both men assured me that they took my complaint seriously, and demonstrated this by their efforts.

The company acted graciously.
As for village council, I and others will probably remember
next election day.

Graymont hired a sound/noise-measurement consultant, who came to my home and to the condo complex to measure the noise. Noise reduction efforts were made and finally a quieter transfer system was installed. During this entire process, which has taken nearly one year, both Lucas and Kenefick have kept me up to date with the ongoing efforts. Lucas even phoned me from Saskatchewan where he was taking care of an ailing parent.
 
As of this date, the problem has been resolved, probably as best it can be. For my part, I am planting an evergreen hedge and trees and using “white noise” such as wind chimes and plants to attract birds. Graymont Industries most likely were acting in their own interests. The transfer process was lengthy and costly. Even so, the company acted graciously. As for village council, I and others will probably remember next election day.

—By JoAnn Whittaker


There are many kinds of noise, but there is only one silence    (Kurt Tucholsky)


Entire contents © 2006 Right to Quiet Society. Cartoon © 1996 Right to Quiet Society
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