A proposal by Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp, the operator of the nation’s high-speed rail, to increase the maximum number of train trips that can be made on special high-load days to 210 a day passed an environmental impact -assessment yesterday.
The Environmental Protection Administration gathered environmental impact assessment specialists to discuss the impact of increasing the number of runs on high-load days, such as during Lunar New Year or on election day.
A previous assessment had set a limit of 175 runs a day.
In addition to evaluating noise pollution and carbon emissions, the specialists assessed land subsidence along the high-speed rail line, especially in Yunlin and Changhua counties.
Taiwan High Speed Rail said subsidence resulted from structural aspects that had already been evaluated before construction, adding that no irregular or unexpected subsidence had been observed over the past four years.
The company agreed to continue monitoring subsidence if the number of trains are increased.
The specialists told the panel they all agreed that adding to the number of trains would have a positive impact by reducing carbon emissions and that the immediate threat of land subsidence remained unproven and required further monitoring.
However, the specialists asked the company to provide clear and specific measures on how it intends to monitor the environmental impact if the numbers of train trips is increased to more than 175 per day.
The specialists asked the operator to provide a clear definition of “high-load days” to better regulate when adding train trips might be permitted.