Huge rollout of ‘noise cameras’ unveiled as ‘rowdy drivers’ warned

Kensington and Chelsea Council introduce new noise cameras

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A new-age road camera designed to identify and track drivers who break the law by revving engines and using modified exhausts will be installed in Bradford today (October 18). It will then be travelling to South Gloucestershire, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham as part of a trial to clampdown on antisocial driving.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Transport Secretary, has confirmed the four locations will host the new “noise camera”.

This follows a Government-backed competition to tackle noise pollution on some of the loudest streets in Britain.

The new technology uses a video camera in conjunction with a number of microphones to accurately pinpoint excessively noisy vehicles as they pass by. 

This means that if drivers break the law by revving their engines unnecessarily or using illegal exhausts, they will be automatically detected. 

The camera takes a picture of the vehicle and records the noise level to create a digital package of evidence which can be used by local police to fine drivers.

Road noise is known to contribute to health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and dementia.

The annual social cost of urban road noise, including lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs is estimated to be up to £10billion.

The trials, backed by £300,000, start with the camera in Keighley, Bradford from today and will then be placed in the other three locations over the next two months.

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The Transport Secretary hailed the new project, saying it would make roads and communities more peaceful.

She added: “Rowdy road drivers beware – these new cameras will help the police clampdown on those who break the legal noise limits or use illegal modified exhausts to make excessive noise in our communities.

“We’ll be working closely with the local authorities and police to share any findings, and I hope that this technology paves the way for quieter, peaceful streets across the country.”

The department launched a competition to identify the areas to host the cameras in April and extensive testing at a private test track facility took place to perfect the technology. 

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Now in the next phase, the locations for these roadside trials have been decided based on the impact to local residents of illegal noisy vehicles, after MPs across the country applied for the camera to be set up in their local area. 

If successful, the cameras could be rolled out across the country.

Noise Abatement Society chief executive Gloria Elliott OBE said: “Excessively noisy vehicles and anti-social driving causes disturbance, stress, anxiety and pain to many. 

“It is unsafe and disrupts the environment and people’s peaceful enjoyment of their homes and public places.

“Communities across the UK are increasingly suffering from this entirely avoidable blight. 

“The Noise Abatement Society applauds rigorous, effective, evidence-based solutions to address this issue and protect the public.”

The trials will continue for two months across the country, with the Department of Transport reiterating that it will work closely with all local authorities and MPs to tackle rowdy, illegal noise disruption from traffic.

Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture is acting as a technical consultant for the trials, providing acoustics expertise, design, modelling and asset management.

Andrew Pearce, Practice Director of Atkins Jacobs Joint Venture, said this was an “important step for the scheme” towards solving a problem that affect many communities across the UK.

He added: “We are fully expecting the trial in these four chosen locations to confirm what we have seen in testing, which is a highly targeted use of technology to ensure only those motorists making excessive noise will be subject to enforcement.”

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