Haydon Brook Update

Dear Councillors

I contact you to advise about the upcoming works in your, or neighbouring, areas which may impact on your constituents. The works are planned for the brook between Queen Elizabeth Drive and Elstree Way (although they do project beyond Elstree way by a little at that extremity).

As you are all doubtless aware; this is a joint project between Thames Water, SBC, and the Environment Agency and its contractors to improve flood protections for dwellings along the brook. The works include long sections of piling into the ground, and associated above ground works; often close to properties, and are essential to provide protection from flooding against a 1 in 100 flood event.

Works are due to start very soon, will last for 6-7months (est.), and may be noisy enough to prompt enquiries from your constituents. The works will move along the brook, and so no property will be affected for the entire duration; just for the time when the piling works are passing close by.

My team are in consultations with the Environment Agency and its contractors about the exact nature of the works, the likely impacts from both noise and vibration, and reasonable mitigations. I would very much hope that it proves possible to protect all but the very closest properties from too much disturbance, but at times it may be quite loud solely due to the unavoidable nature of the operation. For instance; a relatively quiet pile driver is specified, but if ground conditions prove beyond it; then a noisier impact driver will have to be used to ensure that the protection is fitted to the correct depth. I will be advised if this happens, and will be able to update and advise you further in that instance.

All works are to take place between 0800 and 1800 during weekdays only, and my team must give permission for works to continue outside of those times, in-extremis. The noisiest (pile driving) operations are planned to be concentrated between 0900 and 1600, but unusual delays in a day’s operations may mean that they overspill beyond 1600 occasionally.

My team will ensure that Best Practicable Means are employed to limit noise (and vibration, though this is not expected to be a problem), and will visit the site regularly to validate the mitigation measures being used, and to check that noise exposure is not unreasonable. We are also the reception point for noise complaints that do not get routed through to the contractors hotline (which will be publicised on boards locally and via a leaflet to be distributed to all locals by the contractors).

It makes sense then; that if you or any of your constituents are concerned about the noise or vibration aspects of the operation as it continues; and a call to the ‘hotline’ yet to be published has been unsuccessful; that you come direct to me. I will likely be in possession of the latest information, and would also welcome any concerns that the works are not being carried out considerately, or outside of the above arrangements.

My team does have powers to take enforcement action if the noise impacts are very unreasonable; but would clearly have to be mindful of the essential and complex nature of the works before exercising such. I would obviously very much hope to be able to resolve any issues with the contractors etc informally in any case.

The above represents my knowledge to date; but I would of course welcome any further discussions you may wish to have, either in advance of the works commencing, or as issues arise as they progress.

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