A FORMAL objection has been lodged by Dacorum Borough Council to Railtrack's plans to upgrade the West Coast Main Line.

Railtrack has proposed building four railway transformers in the borough as part of a programme to improve the line between London and Glasgow, including one transformer in Kings Langley between Ruckler's Lane Railway Bridge and Ridgeway Close. Transformers are needed to provide the appropriate level of electricity to trains.

The borough council has made clear its support for a public inquiry being held into the plans for the transformers after the council was invited to comment on Railtrack's plans as part of a consultation process that ended last week.

The council submitted a ten-page response, objecting on the following grounds:

¥ÊNo consideration has been given to alternative sites for the transformers. There was no explanation of how the four sites were chosen

¥ÊThere has not been enough investigation into existing levels of noise around the sites

¥ÊThere are no details of what measures would be taken to reduce noise from the transformers should it be necessary

¥ÊThere do not appear to be any benefits to train services to stations in the borough resulting from the upgrade.

Council leader Andrew Williams said: 'The council supports proposals that will encourage people to use public transport by providing a better transport system.

'However, we do not find these plans acceptable and would urge the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry so that the issues can be examined in more detail before any decisions can be made.'

The decision will lie with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, John Prescott. An officer from the DETR will preside over a public inquiry into the Railtrack application later in the year.

Kings Langley Parish Council objected to the plans last month on the grounds that the site was on Green Belt land and within a designated Landscape Development Area.

There was also concern at the possible loss of mature trees on the site, which were protected under Tree Preservation Orders, and the general impact the transformer would have on the land and on the neighbouring houses in Ridgeway Close.

Residents on Hunton Bridge have lodged objections to the proposals for a transformer in Gypsy Lane.

A spokesman for Railtrack said: 'Copies of all complaints will be sent to Railtrack.

'The date for the public inquiry has not been confirmed but, between now and that time, Railtrack will be looking into all inquiries and addressing and resolving the issues about what is happening.

'We will be dealing not only with complaints but with other queries such as how the work will be carried out.'