Legco urges action on rail noise

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 12:00am

Legco yesterday urged the Kowloon-Canton Railway to install noise-reduction features on the new Ma On Shan line even in areas where the noise level is below the legal limit of 55 decibels.

The railways subcommittee of the transport panel passed a motion that 'strongly demanded' the corporation install effective anti-noise facilities at places suffering from a noise level of more than 55 decibels - the upper legal limit allowed for rail operation in residential areas. It also called on the corporation to 'actively consider' increasing such facilities for places hit by noise levels under the legal limit.

Environmental Protection Department principal environmental officer Hui Yat-ming admitted at the meeting that at some locations, noise levels could reach as high as 70 decibels - described as 10 decibels less than the noise on busy Nathan Road.

Panel member Lee Wing-tat feared that with six trains operating in a half-hour interval, complaints would be endless when full operations commenced.

Complaints have already been received after a recent overnight trial run.

A second trial run will be conducted today from 5am to 1.30pm.

The date for the start of full commercial operations has not been finalised.

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation deputy chief executive officer Samuel Lai Man-hay said the company corporation would consider the recommendation for more noise abatement works for areas that would be exposed to more than 55 decibels.

But he was cautious about making promises on the recommendation regarding areas below 55 decibels.

'If the upper limit prescribed by law is not taken seriously as a standard and if we concede to a lower level, that will create a problem for our future planning. We need to cautiously study this at greater length,' he said.

Meanwhile, between the fourth week and the eighth week after the train service starts running, the government proposes that five bus routes will be cancelled. They are 83P, 86A, 285, 286P and 287K.