Noise cameras will be tested in England to combat ‘boy racers’ | transport policy

Noise-detecting traffic cameras will be trialled in four areas of England in a bid to crack down on ‘racing boys’ who rev engines and use illegal exhaust, the Department for Transport has announced.

The so-called noise cameras will be installed on the roadside in Bradford on Tuesday, before rolling out to Bristol, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham over the next two months.

A video camera will photograph the vehicles and several microphones will record sound to help identify road users who break the law by running their engines unnecessarily or using illegal exhaust fumes as they pass.

The technology – which the government has pledged to invest £300,000 in and being tested on a private track – will be used to create a digital body of evidence that can be used by police to fine drivers.

The announcement comes after a government-backed competition was launched in April to identify some of the worst-hit areas. MPs requested that the cameras be installed in their constituencies and the winning locations were chosen based on the severity of the problem.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Beware of rowdy lorry drivers – these new cameras will help police crack down on those who break legal noise limits or use illegal modified exhausts to make excessive noise in our communities.

“We will work closely with local authorities and police to share any findings, and I hope this technology will pave the way for quieter, more peaceful streets across the country.”

A technical consultant for the trials, Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture, sought to assure drivers that the cameras would be “highly targeted”, targeting only those who were making excessive noise.

Noise pollution has been linked to stress, cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia. The World Health Organization has calculated that at least 1 million years of healthy life are lost each year in Western Europe due to environmental noise.

According to UK government figures, the annual social cost of urban road noise, including lost productivity due to sleep disturbance and healthcare, is estimated at around £10 billion.

The noise reduction society welcomed the introduction of noise-canceling cameras. “Excessively loud vehicles and anti-social driving cause disruption, stress, anxiety and pain to many,” said the charity’s chief executive, Gloria Elliott.

“It is dangerous 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 preventable scourge. The Noise Abatement Society applauds rigorous, effective, and evidence-based solutions to address this issue and protect the public.

Trials will continue for two months across the country. If successful, the cameras could be deployed across the country.

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