Campaigners fighting against a planned high speed rail line between London and Birmingham have challenged claims that fewer than 2,000 homes in the West Midlands will notice any increase in noise.
Detailed maps published by HS2 Ltd, the company set up to oversee the 225mph line, set out exactly which properties are likely to be affected.
Fewer than 15 dwellings in the West Midlands will suffer from “high noise levels”, defined as 73 decibels or more, according to the study.
To put that in context, the sound of a phone ringing might reach 80 decibels while a washing machine might reach 70 decibels, according to charity Environmental Protection UK.
Fewer than 40 properties will experience noise levels of above 68 decibels, qualifying the owners for subsidised noise insulation.
And fewer than 1,970 properties will experience a “noticeable noise increase”. This means that they have an average noise level above 50 decibels and also that the noise level is at least three decibels higher than it was before the line was constructed.
Most of these are along the route to the south-east of Birmingham, including in Hampton in Arden, Chelmsley Wood in Solihull and in Coleshill.
The figures and maps are included in an Appraisal of Sustainability published by HS2 Ltd.
But Jerry Marshall, chairman of Action Groups Against High Speed Two – also known as Aghast – claimed that the official figures underplayed the problem.
He said: “They use the average measure of noise, which is not appropriate.
“What will matter is the noise level when a train is running past your house.”
Mr Marshall said that the main argument against HS2 was that it made no sense economically.
The case for HS2 was based on assumptions about increasing demand for rail travel which had not been proven, he said.