This section considers the potential health and wellbeing
effects arising from changes in noise and vibration levels during
the construction and operation of the proposed scheme.
The ES (Jacobs Arup, 2009a) includes a noise assessment (Chapter
16) which has been used as the basis of this section. This has
assessed the operational noise and vibration impacts, based on
changes in noise and vibration levels arising from traffic using
the main crossing and new roads and changes in traffic volumes and
flows on the local road network.
The study area for the assessment of operational road traffic
noise was defined around ‘affected routes’ comprising
new or altered highways (the proposed scheme), and existing roads
predicted to be subject to change in noise levels of more than
1dB(A), identified using traffic forecasts predicting a >25%
increase or >20% decrease in traffic flows. Noise calculations
were carried out for all properties within 600m of affected routes,
up to 2km from the boundary of the proposed scheme.
The ES (Jacobs Arup, 2009a) also qualitatively assesses the
construction noise impacts arising from construction activities and
construction traffic. Construction noise impacts will occur in the
immediate vicinity of the proposed scheme and these are detailed
within the Disruption due to Construction (Chapter 19) of the
This section does not consider the effects of noise on
occupational health and safety for construction workers. This issue
will be dealt with in accordance with the Contractor’s
Health, Safety, Quality and Environment Plan.
8.2 Evidence of Health Effects
8.2.1 Effects of Noise
The effects of occupational noise on health are well understood.
However, whilst there is evidence to suggest links between
environmental noise and various mental and physical conditions, the
links are less well established and are more likely to be
contributory rather than causal.
The main health risks of noise identified by the World Health
Organisation (WHO) are:
- pain and hearing fatigue;
- hearing impairment including tinnitus;
- interferences with social behaviour;
- interference with speech communication;
- sleep disturbance and all its consequences on a long and short
- cardiovascular effects;
- hormonal responses (stress hormones) and their possible
consequences on human metabolism (nutrition) and immune system;
- performance at work and school.
The World Health Organisation in its Guidelines for Community
Noise (Berglund et al.,1999) refers to a definition of annoyance
caused by noise, as follows:
‘A definition of annoyance is "a feeling of displeasure
associated with any agent or condition, known or believed by an
individual or group to adversely affect them" (Lindvall &
Radford 1973; Koelega 1987). However, apart from "annoyance",
people may feel a variety of negative emotions when exposed to
community noise, and may report anger, disappointment,
dissatisfaction, withdrawal, helplessness, depression, anxiety,
distraction, agitation, or exhaustion (Job 1993; Fields et al. 1997
1998). Thus the term annoyance is used for
The same guidance identifies links between noise and social and
behavioural effects include changes in everyday behaviour patterns
such as closing windows, not using outdoor space, disengagement and
As well as the characteristics of the noise itself, the degree
of annoyance experienced relates to factors such as ability to
control the noise, and whether the noise is perceived to originate
from an important activity.
8.2.2 Effects of Vibration
The WHO Guidelines for Community Noise cites research showing
stronger reactions in the above health effects when noise is
accompanied by vibration.
8.2.3 Vulnerable Groups
The WHO Guidelines state that some populations may be at greater
risk than others from the harmful effects of noise. Vulnerable
groups have been identified as people with a hearing impairment,
the elderly, babies and children, blind people, people in hospital
or rehabilitating at home, people with particular diseases/medical
problems (e.g. high blood pressure), depressed people and people
doing complex cognitive tasks. However the Guidelines also state
that there are no definite conclusions on this topic.
8.3 Existing Conditions
Traffic is currently the main noise source within the study
area, with the levels of background noise dependant on distance
from major roads. Noise levels are predicted to increase in the
future in proportion to the predicted increase in traffic flows on
the existing road network.
Figure 16.3 of the ES shows the predicted noise levels in the
study area (dBLA10,18h) in 2017 without the scheme in place. This
illustrates the level of traffic noise generated from the existing
road network. Areas immediately adjacent to busier roads, including
houses along Stoneyflats Crescent, are subject to a relatively
higher level of road noise which would may detract from the
enjoyment of outdoor space and cause annoyance. However the level
of noise diminishes rapidly with distance from the major roads.
Noise levels in the majority of residential areas in South
Queensferry range from 47.5 to 53.4 dBLA10,18h.
On the north side of the Firth of Forth, properties on the east
side of Rosyth are also adversely affected by noise from the A90
A number of non-residential properties that are also sensitive
to noise because of their use are currently affected by road noise,
notably some local schools. In the 2017 opening year without the
proposed scheme in place 4 schools are predicted to have noise
levels in excess of 65dBLA10,18h.
The areas directly affected by the proposed new road alignments
include some areas that currently have relatively low levels of
background noise, for example the open countryside to the west and
south west of South Queensferry.
8.4 Noise Impact Assessment
This section summarises the findings of the noise and vibration
assessment undertaken for the ES.
8.4.1 Operational Noise
Measures have been taken during the design process to minimise
the effects of traffic noise where practicable on sensitive
receptors such as dwellings, schools, hospitals, care homes, parks
and public rights of way. These include the location of the
proposed scheme, consideration of topographic and landscape
features and the design of earthworks, cuttings and embankments,
and use of low noise road surfacing.
The noise model has predicted the current and future traffic
noise levels and assessed noise impacts on the affected routes
(defined in Section 8.1). An increase of 3 decibels (dB(A)) has
been used as the threshold to identify significant effects. This is
the level at which a noise increase is considered to be
perceptible. The noise assessment also considers the number of
sensitive receptors affected by the change in noise levels when
considering whether the impact will be viewed as a significant
effect and, as such, will require mitigation. Based on the noise
assessment results, the need for further mitigation was identified
in some areas where the potential for significant effects was
Noise barriers are proposed within the ES as a way to reduce
noise at the following five locations where significant adverse
effects were identified:
- South Queensferry Barrier: the proposed barrier is located
on the east side of the mainline route. It would provide a small
benefit to a large number of dwellings in the west of South
Queensferry reducing, but not removing, noise impacts in this
- Linn Mill Barrier: the proposed barrier is located on the
western side of the southern approach viaduct. It would reduce, but
not remove, noise impacts at Inchgarvie House and Linn Mill.
- West Dundas Barrier: the proposed barrier is located on the
southern side of the mainline route, north of Dundas Castle. It
would remove significant adverse effects at Dundas Castle, the
residential properties surrounding Dundas Castle and the properties
at Dundas Mains.
- East Dundas Barrier: the proposed barrier is located on the
mainline route , north of Dundas Home Farm and the mitigated scheme
is not considered to result in a significant residual adverse
- Kirkliston Barrier: the proposed barrier is located on the
mainline route to the west of Kirkliston and would remove the
adverse effect of the proposed scheme at properties on the
southwest side of Kirkliston.
‘Significant’ Adverse Effects
The noise barriers will significantly reduce the levels of noise
experienced at properties close to the proposed scheme. However,
even with noise mitigation in place, significant residual noise
effects have been identified at the following locations on the
south side of the Firth of Forth:
- properties to the east of the southern approach road in
South Queensferry including Clufflat Brae, Springfield Lea,
Springfield Place and Society Road;
- the western half of the Echline Estate in the west of South
- the Linn Mill and Inchgarvie community to the west of the
southern approach road.
‘Non-Significant’ Adverse Effects
When determining the significance of noise impacts, the
assessment considers the number of receptors subject to the noise
impact, the proportion of the community subject to the impact, the
magnitude of the impact and existing absolute noise levels.
Therefore there are a number of locations north of the Firth of
Forth where properties will be affected by noise increases of more
than 3dB(A) but this has not been assessed as a significant effect.
These include the following locations:
- houses on Mucklehill Park in Inverkeithing, overlooking the
- the westernmost dwellings on Ferry Barns Court , South
- St Margaret’s Hope Gatelodge, a single residential
property close to the northern approach viaduct;
- Brock Street in North Queensferry which will receive less
topographic shielding as a result of the reconfiguration of
- Dales Steading and Dales Farm Cottages in the north of the
study area (indirectly affected by traffic changes on existing
- dwellings facing onto Dunfermline Wynd in Inverkeithing and
Hill Street in Rosyth.
South of the Firth of Forth effects at the following locations
have been reduced to ‘not significant’ by the proposed
noise barriers described above:
- a small proportion of dwellings at Dundas Home Farm;
- dwellings around Dundas Castle and at Dundas Mains –
these will still experience significant increases in noise levels
but absolute traffic noise levels are reduced to below 50dBLAeq (WHO
guidance indicates that few people are moderately annoyed at this
In addition, the following noise effects have been identified
for non-residential receptors:
- The Queensferry Hotel would be subject to major adverse
effects on its north-western facades and major beneficial effects
on its south-eastern facades. The hotel has rooms on both facades
and therefore the overall impact is considered neutral.
- Admiralty House/St Margaret’s Hope, a commercial building
containing offices close to the northern approach viaduct, would
experience a major adverse noise impact but would remain within
reasonable levels for office environments as defined by the
relevant British Standards.
- North Queensferry Community Centre to the northwest of North
Queensferry would be subject to a major increase in noise levels on
its northern facade, but since there are no windows in this
façade, this is not likely to result in an internal level
which would adversely affect the internal noise climate.
Noise increases at Echline Primary School would result in an
exceedance of the local authority’s guidance noise levels on
part of the western façade. However there are no windows in
this gable end of the building so the internal environment of the
school would not be adversely affected. Existing noise levels on
the northern façade already exceed these guidance levels.
The remainder of façades with openable windows would be able
to open windows whilst still maintaining noise levels within the
Effects on Outdoor Spaces
The noise assessment has considered the impact of noise on
accessible outdoor areas. ‘Non-significant’ noise
increases were identified on the south bank of the Forth to the
west of the Main Crossing and at Duddingston Wood (north of
Significant Beneficial Effects
The noise model has also predicted significant positive effects
resulting from reduced traffic flows on parts of the road network.
Beneficial effects will occur in the following locations:
- dwellings along the southern edge of the Echline Estate
which face directly onto the A904;
- properties west of and within 300m of the Forth Road Bridge
approach road in South Queensferry (including the eastern half of
the Echline Estate); and
- properties in the area to the east of the Forth Road Bridge
approach road bounded by the B924, the B907 and the A8000.
8.4.2 Construction Noise Impact Assessment
A review of the construction activities for the proposed scheme,
reported in Chapter 19 of the ES, indicates that the following, in
rank order, are likely to give rise to significant noise
- removal of the ‘cap’ of Beamer Rock to form the
foundations for the central tower of the Main Crossing;
- top driven steel tubular piles to support the temporary jetties
used to provide access to the pier locations for the north and
south approach structures for the Main Crossing;
- marine (bored) piling off the north and south shore of the
Firth of Forth;
- mechanical rock breaking of the northern shore of the Firth of
Forth for the construction of the north abutment; and
- sheet piling for the temporary bund off the south shore of the
Firth of Forth.
A summary of the results of the construction noise assessment is
presented in Table 10 below.
Table 10: Summary of
Construction Noise Assessment Results
No. of receptors
Margaret’s Hope (also known as Admiralty
Margaret’s Hope Lodge
The assessment indicates
that construction vibration impacts will occur at the following
locations, as a result of disturbance of occupants due to
vibro-compaction of highway works:
- Inchgarvie House; and
- St Margaret’s Hope Gatelodge.
The construction noise assessment concludes that the adverse
noise impact of the proposed scheme is low because there are few
receptors close to the major works and because of the mitigation
measures set out in the CoCP. These measures include a requirement
on the contractor to develop a Noise and Vibration Management Plan
and apply ‘Best Practicable Means (as defined in the Control
of Pollution Act 1974) to minimise noise. Working hours will be
controlled, and no impact piling will be undertaken at night. Solid
hoardings and bunds or barriers will be used to screen off noise
from construction sites. Where noise impacts cannot be avoided
through these measures and subject to agreement with property
owners, noise insulation work may be carried out.
The construction noise assessment therefore indicates that the
construction process is not likely to cause direct health impacts.
However, it is considered likely that the construction process will
cause considerable anxiety among the local communities with regard
to noise. Noise increases that are not considered significant in
terms of the criteria used in the noise assessment may be perceived
as problematic, and this could be exacerbated if the community
feels that noise is not being adequately controlled or that there
are insufficient procedures in place to respond to complaints.
These issues have the potential to adversely affect the wellbeing
of individuals within the affected communities.
8.4.3 Vibration Assessment
No ground-borne vibration impacts are forecast because in
accordance with highway construction standards, the surface of the
proposed roads would be smooth with no surface irregularities of
sufficient size to generate significant levels of ground-borne
8.5 Mitigation Measures
8.5.1 Operational Phase
The mitigation measures incorporated into the proposed scheme to
minimise the effects of road noise are described above and taken
into account in the assessment of health effects.
8.5.2 Construction Phase
The CoCP includes a section on Noise and Vibration and this
requires the Contractor to produce a Noise and Vibration Management
Plan which will describe the measures to control and mitigate noise
and vibration during the construction works. It also requires the
Contractor to use Best Practicable Means (as defined in the Control
of Pollution Act 1974) to control and limit noise and vibration
effects in the detailed design of the proposed scheme.
A dedicated Community Liaison Officer will be available
throughout the construction period to respond quickly to any
complaints with regard to construction noise. The Community
Engagement Requirements within the CoCP include a requirement for
the Contractor to take reasonable steps to notify occupiers of
nearby properties two weeks in advance of any works that may affect
them. The notification will include the nature and anticipated
duration of the planned construction works as well as details of
the enquiries and complaints procedure.
The CoCP also requires that noise and vibration monitoring is
undertaken during construction.
8.6 Assessment of Health Impacts
The effects on health have been assessed according to the
criteria set out in the Merseyside Guidelines (see Section
The available evidence (see Section 8.2) indicates an identified
contributory link between noise and health effects and the degree
of certainty is generally considered to be probable. The links
between health effects associated with anxiety over perceived noise
changes are less established. The degree of certainty for these
issues is therefore considered to be speculative.
The assessment of operational noise is based on the predicted
changes in daytime noise reported in the ES therefore these effects
A substantial reduction in road traffic along existing roads,
for example, on the southern approach road to the Forth Road Bridge
and A904, will reduce operational noise for adjacent properties and
nearby open spaces e.g. Echline Community Woodland. This will
provide health benefits through a potential increase in use of
outdoor space for physical activity and social interaction.
Conversely, the occupiers of houses close to the proposed scheme
who are affected by noise increases will experience reduced
enjoyment of outdoor areas such as gardens. Adverse health effects
resulting from this could include increases in levels of
Overall, the health effects for operation of the proposed scheme
will be both positive and negative and are considered to be
negligible to minor in magnitude.
During construction, there will be adverse noise impacts for
receptors in close proximity to the construction works. Although
only temporary, the overall construction process is expected to
last more than five years and the fear of noise disturbance and
lack of control over the noise environment may influence health and
wellbeing during this period. There may also be a reduction in the
availability of some outdoor spaces used for recreation,
particularly the Echline Field area which would be adjacent to the
construction compound. Overall, the health effects for construction
of the proposed scheme will be negative and are considered to be
minor to moderate in magnitude.
8.7 HIA-Specific Mitigation
The following mitigation measures have been identified:
- When notifying communities of planned construction works as
required by the CoCP, the Contractor will provide information on
details of proposed noise monitoring and any other mitigation
proposed for during the works.
- The Contractor will be required to demonstrate a commitment to
its wider social responsibilities, for example through
participation in the Considerate Constructor’s scheme.