Noise, Nuisance & Disturbance

Working to minimise complaints and damage to the environment and human health from noise, nuisance and disturbances arising from our work

What is noise, nuisance and disturbance?

Constructing and maintaining the railway is a noisy and ongoing process. Nuisances and disturbances are primarily related to noise and vibration, air quality (i.e. odour, dust, smoke), artificial light, visual amenity, and traffic movements. These issues are sometimes escalated to statutory nuisances. With over 22 million lineside neighbours within 500m of the railway, the potential to affect people’s quality of life through unwanted nuisance and disturbance is high without effective consideration and management.

Why is it important to Network Rail to manage noise, nuisance and disturbance?

What is Network Rail’s approach to noise, nuisance and disturbance?

At Network Rail, we aim to reduce the impact of noise and vibration wherever possible. This includes activities such as controlling where equipment is placed on site, adjusting working hours, using localised noise barriers, and managing artificial light nuisance.

We work closely with our lineside neighbours to minimise disturbances of the railway and provide ecological benefits where needed. Landscape and visual impact assessments may be undertaken as part of the statutory planning process.

Where potential problems from pests and vermin are identified within the Network Rail estate, approved professional pest control contractors are brought in as soon as possible. We work hard to educate and train our employees and contractors to maintain publicly-accessible areas so they are functioning correctly, in full working order, and free from offensive odours, pests and nuisances.

Whilst we own and manage the rail network, we do not run trains. Everything possible will be done to provide advice and help investigate train movements, working closely with the Train Operating Companies (TOCs), Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) and local authority.

This work is driven by Network Rail and its contractors needing to comply with relevant UK legislation relating to noise, nuisance and disturbance, primarily the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and Noise Insulation (Railways and other Guided Transport Systems) Regulations 1996.

Key contacts:

For general enquiries, or Route contact details, please email sustainabledevelopment@networkrail.co.uk.

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