Wendover Bypass south

Reducing Noise from the A413 Wendover Bypass

The Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) has now started the consultation on the options for reducing the noise from the A413 Wendover Bypass which affects much of Wendover.

The consultation launch events are now over, but it is still possible to view the display material and pick up a form to register your opinion at Wendover Library, or you can do this online for a period of 5 weeks, closing on Friday 4th January, 2019. There are four options:

Please vote! All adult members of your family can vote - not just one per household. Unfortunately there has been a restriction which has prevented more than one individual from using the same computer to respond, but this restriction hs now been lifted, so if you have been prevented from voting, please try again. All the consulation materials can be found on this BCC web page. However you can only vote for one option. For those who want some type of low noise surface (and in our own survey, that was 95% of you) it is important not to split the vote between the two types of low noise surface, or we could end up with barriers! We strongly recommend that unless you prefer barriers, you vote for Very Low Noise Surface (vLNS) and not Low Noise Surface (LNS).

Advantages and Disadvantages

Barriers provide the greatest noise reduction for the small number of properties closest to the bypass, but far less than LNS and vLNS further away.

vLNS provides a benefit over a much wider area and provides a significant benefit for the greatest number of houses, and the highest average benefit.

The results presented by BCC can be summarised in tabular form:

  Barriers LNS vLNS
Total number of properties seeing a 1dB increase or more 19 0 0
Total number of properties seeing a 1dB benefit or more 623 690 786
Total number of properties seeing a 3dB benefit or more 131 0 150
Average noise change per sensitive property within 600m of the A413 -1.5dB -1.2db -1.7db
Approximate number of years that the option can be maintained before HS2 money runs out. 15-20 48-60 10-20

The vLNS option gives significantly better results than LNS, and we believe provides the best option for most people in Wendover. We also believe the benefits of vLNS are better than these figures suggest and the costs have been overestimated, as we explain below.

And good news for those living in North Wendover. All solutions have now been extended by approx. 230m northwards from the Bridleways overbridge, so will now provide protection for houses in Bridleways and Lionel Avenue and improve protection throughout the north of Wendover. Furthermore BCC have confirmed that noise from HS2 construction traffic will be insignificant.

Other disadvantages of barriers are:

Benefits - the Effect of Wind

We know that a vLNS will reduce the noise from the bypass itself by 5db, which Jacobs (BCC's consultants) describe as 'major benefit'. And this is true at any distance from the bypass. In the previous version of their report, they showed the noise reduction in the whole of the main residential part of Wendover (north of the Aylesbury Road) as 3-5db. And they indicated that 563 houses would get this level of benefit.

However their latest figures reduce these significantly. When we asked BCC why this was, they explained that it was because of noise from other roads - the point being that if the main noise source (the bypass) becomes quieter, other roads are more noticeable and the overall benefit is less. Those of us who live in North Wendover were surprised by this, as (unless one lives close to the High Street) we never hear other roads!

It seems that the model which Jacobs and BCC are using does not fully take into account the effect of the wind. Across most of north Wendover, bypass noise is only a problem when there is a westerly wind. This has the effect of increasing noise from the bypass significantly, and at the same time reducing noise from the Aylesbury Road. As a result the actual benefit should be much higher than the figures quoted by BCC, close to the full 5db reduction in bypass noise. Any house which suffers from bypass noise should notice a significant improvement.

Conversely, a westerly wind will reduce the benefit of noise barriers. Measurements have been done on a noise barrier along the M40 at Gerrards Cross, which show that a 10km/hr wind reduces the benefit of the barrier by 3db.

vLNS Costs and Lifetime

BCC have said that the budget of £1.51m will be sufficient to maintain a vLNS for 20 years. We believe this is a very conservative esimate. BCC have included a contingency factor of 45% in their estimates. Most of the cost is the cost for a contractor to strip the surface of the existing road and lay the new 2-layer road surface. Contractors will give a fixed price for this, and it is difficult to see why, if the job is well managed, the actual cost would exceed the quoted price by anything like 45%. Furthermore the costs are based on a quotation from a single supplier, and we believe lower costs are available. Calculations suggest that a life of 40 years could well be achieved within the budget, and therefore a more realistic range to quote for the life of the surface covered by the budget would be 20-40 years.

In their letter to all residents, BCC also say of vLNS "this may be a shorter stretch than for LNS due to additional cost". We can only reiterate that based on their existing quote and 45% contingency, there is enough money in the budget for the full length and a 20 year life.

BCC also say of vLNS: "The risk is, it will not perform as modelled/expected, or last as long, given the high traffic volume on the A413". We are not sure where they get that from. Traffic volumes on the A413 are average for an A road. The vLNS being used is also being laid on the A14 in Cambridgeshire, where the traffic volumes are four times the A413 and the HGV volumes are nearly eight times the A413, and the lifetimes quoted are taken from the A14 project.

Will HS2 Pay for vLNS?

BCC have been very cautious about this, as HS2 have not yet formally agreed that the funds can be used for vLNS. However they have indicated in the past that the conditions for a change in the use of the funds are that the project should still meet the original objective (bypass noise reduction), require no additional money, and be supported by the Wendover community. All these will apply if Wendover votes for vLNS. And vLNS is a better solution for HS2 as there there may not now be sufficient time for barriers to be installed before the start of HS2 construction traffic.

So do not be put off - vote for what you want!


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Wendover HS2