Families affected by Metro noise asked to share one apartment
The three-bedroom apartment can accommodate twelve adults and four children at a time. That’s all the Metro construction company, Metroselskabet, has offered as a place of refuge to no less than 90 families seeking escape from raging noise levels.
As part of the Cityring expansion, a new Metro station is being laid near Copenhagen Central Station (Hovedbanegård), and residents in the area are being exposed to extreme levels of noise pollution, Politiken newspaper reported. Noise levels there have been recorded at 93 decimals around the Metro construction site. The permitted noise level is 70 decibels.
Within apartments, residents are exposed to an astonishing 75 decibels of sound, in what is the biggest construction project in the capital in the past hundred years.
Ture Andersen, an ear, nose and throat specialist at the hearing clinic Høreklinken in Odense, told Politiken that such noise exposure can create serious stress “symptoms [which] could include memory loss, disturbed sleep patterns and high blood pressure”.
Some 90 – 100 families are thought to be affected by the noise, and the only way to escape the debacle is a single apartment, situated nearby.
Veronica Juhl, who is one of the many victims of the noise pollution, told Politiken she couldn't believe it when she received Metroselskabet’s offer in the post.
“At first glance I was impressed. I assumed that each affected family would be entitled to a three bedroom apartment, but they’re literally offering one apartment to accommodate a whole street,” she said. “We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It feels like they’re mocking us.”
Christian Mogensen, who is the former head of the the body responsible for relocating families affected by Metro construction (Expropriation Committee), told Politiken that the offer was woefully inadequate.
“To only offer a single three-bedroom flat to 90 families as a means to escape the noise is completely unreasonable," Mogensen said. "Families should at least be offered hotel rooms where they can reside until the noise levels subside. People are sick of living around here.”
While Metroselskabet has yet to make a public statement, company spokesperson Rebekka Nymark attempted to shift the blame in an email sent to Politiken regarding the controversy.
“The Expropriation Committee requested Metroselskabet to provide a large apartment within the vicinity of the area in question for residents who seek refuge from the noise,” Nymark wrote. “It is therefore up to the committee to decide, whether that measure is appropriate or not.”
Metroselskabet has also revealed that the apartment was used by a total of eleven people during the latter part of September, and has since been unoccupied.
In a bid to calm the situation, the city's deputy mayor for employment and integration, Anna Mee Allerslev (Radikale), told Politiken that when undergoing such a massive project, some inconvenience will have to be tolerated.
“We need to be aware that in order for the Metroselskabet to progress with their work, certain waivers must be accepted in regards to noise pollution levels," she said. "Then we can look into how to reduce construction noise in the future.”
The expansion of the Metro is expected to finish in 2018.