Clamp down to get you to pipe down: the DfT launches scheme to target 'rowdy' motorists
By John Howell / Wednesday, 19 October 2022 / Loading comments
There was a time, back when I rode motorbikes, that the first thing I’d do, having bought a new one, would be to grab a couple of cans. The louder the better, too. The ones I fitted to my Honda VTR1000 SP1, with its thundering v-twin, were particularly fruity. God, I loved that bike. But one of the privileges of getting old is having a good old moan, so now I tend to frown upon anyone doing that sort of thing. Hypocrisy? Absolutely.
But it’s not just me raising an eyebrow at scallywags. There are eyes everywhere. Well, in Bradford at least, and within the next two months in Bristol, Birmingham and Great Yarmouth as well. This is the Department of Transport’s (DfT) new trial to banish ‘boy racers’ from Britain’s noisiest streets.
Transport secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said at the launch of the trial, ‘Rowdy road drivers beware – these new cameras will help the police clamp down on those who break the legal noise limits or use illegal modified exhausts to make excessive noise in our communities.
‘We will be working closely with the local authorities and police to share any findings, and I hope this technology paves the way for quieter, peaceful streets across the country.’
They’re being termed ‘noise cameras’, which sounds a little moronic. So let’s call them cameras with microphones; or better still, cameras. They will monitor traffic noise next to designated spots and record anyone going by who’s making an unacceptable din.
The Noise Abatement Society are onside, as you might expect. Its chief executive, Gloria Elliott said, ‘Excessively noisy vehicles cause unnecessary disturbance, stress and anxiety to many and, in some cases, physical pain. They disrupt the environment and people’s peaceful enjoyment of their homes and public places.’
There’s even a cost to this disturbance. Up to £10 billion. Yes, you did read that right: the estimated cost of excessive urban road noise in England alone is £10 billion. It was calculated a decade ago after looking at exposure to noise pollution and including the cost of lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs from heart attacks, strokes and dementia. Blimey, I knew my SP1 was loud, but didn’t think it was that loud.
If it saves that much cash, it’ll help the government recoup its pledged £300,000 investment into solving the issue. At least some of that cash is going to Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture, which is leading the trial. And, of course, there will be fines, but the problem is where’s the threshold? There’s no mention of a decibel limit on the DfT website. All we can see is this statement: ‘Existing legislation requires exhausts and silencers to be maintained in good working order and not altered so as to increase noise. Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Section 42) the potential penalty for non-compliance with these requirements is a £50 on-the-spot fine’
So, scallywags, you’ve been warned.
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