I write to you today to request an Environmental Effects Study (EES) for the train stabling in Seaford. As you know this facility is 75,000 square metres in area and contains maintenance facilities, train washing machines and stabling for 24 trains. It will be operational 22 hours a day with trains being shunted around for cleaning, maintenance and stabling and brightly lit all night.
We have two things to consider; light and noise and the impact it will have on the community and also the birds (some of them migratory) in the nearby wetlands.
For the human population noise is pervasive in everyday life and can cause both auditory and non-auditory health effects. Our understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in noise-induced hair-cell and nerve damage has substantially increased. Evidence of the non-auditory effects of environmental noise exposure on public health is growing. Observational and experimental studies have shown that noise exposure leads to annoyance, disturbs sleep and causes daytime sleepiness, affects patient outcomes and staff performance in hospitals, increases the occurrence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and impairs cognitive performance in schoolchildren.
Local and Migratory bird populace face these issues;
• Artificial noise hinders bird’s reproduction
• Birds rely on their hearing to avoid danger
• Noise pollution caused by human activity interferes with birds’ hearing ability
• Artificial noise masks calls from other birds, a signal that predators may be present
• This chronically stresses mother birds and nestlings
• Birds nesting near noisy environments lay fewer eggs that hatch
• Tense adults spend more time guarding their nests and less feeding their chicks, which affects the young
• Chicks in loud areas have reduced growth and body size
• Birds exposed to constant noise pollution suffer from chronic stress
• Such birds have highly reduced levels of the stress hormone called Corticosterone
• Low levels of the stress hormone occur as a reaction to intense stress as the body tones down levels of the hormone to protect itself. The condition is similar to humans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Then we come to the matter of the impact on human health by Artificial Light at Night ( ALAN.)
It has frequently been reported that exposure to ALAN may cause negative health effects, such as breast cancer, circadian phase disruption and sleep disorders. Several observational studies showed that outdoor ALAN levels are a risk factor for breast cancer. Exposure to artificial bright light during the night time suppresses melatonin secretion; increases sleep onset latency (SOL) and increases alertness. Circadian misalignment caused by chronic ALAN exposure may have negative effects on the psychological, cardiovascular and/or metabolic functions. ALAN also causes circadian phase disruption, which increases with longer duration of exposure and with exposure later in the evening. It has also been reported that shorter wavelengths of light preferentially disturb melatonin secretion and cause circadian phase shifts.
Birds use celestial cues to navigate and it is well documented that birds fly towards large banks of light become disorientated and end up wasting crucial energy flying around sounding off in distress. ALAN produces light pollution that influences several aspects of the biology and ecology of birds, including disruption of circadian rhythms and disorientation during flight.
It is worth noting that if an EES is not done we are breaching international treaties re migratory birds with Japan, China and Korea ( JAMBA,CAMBA AND Rokamba.)
Please consider the above information, take a cautionary approach and do an Environmental Effects Study.