‘Banish boy racers’ Government launches new trial to stop loud car exhausts on UK streets

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A search for Britain’s noisiest streets has been launched by the Department for Transport, with four areas across England and Wales set to trial new phase two technology to help stop rowdy motorists revving their engines unnecessarily or using illegal exhausts.

MPs are now being invited to submit applications to trial the noise cameras in their local area, which the DfT believes will help to ensure communities can enjoy their public and residential spaces peacefully.

The Government is investing £300,000 in the cameras, which can automatically detect when vehicles are breaking legal noise requirements.

They can also help provide police and local authorities with evidence to take action against drivers who flout noise laws.

Police do currently have existing powers, including the ability to issue fines, but have trouble gathering evidence according to the DfT.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We want those in Britain’s noisiest streets, who are kept up at night by unbearable revving engines and noisy exhausts, to come forward with the help of volunteer areas to test and perfect the latest innovative technology.

“For too long, rowdy drivers have been able to get away with disturbing our communities with illegal noisy vehicles.

“It’s time we clamp down on this nuisance, banish the boy racer and restore peace and quiet to local streets.”

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The technology being used in the trial can provide real-time reports which police can use as evidence and could help to crack down on noisy motorists.

And the public are also being urged to help use the testing of the tech in rural and urban areas.

The Dft said that research shows noise pollution can have significant impacts on physical and mental health for local residents – with heart attacks, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stress all linked to long-term contact with loud environments.

It also stated that excessive noise pollution can mean children struggle to get a good night’s sleep and hardworking people’s lives are made more stressful.

The DfT added that in England alone, the annual social cost of urban road noise was estimated to be up to £10billion a decade ago.

This is the total economic cost of exposure to noise pollution, including lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs from heart attacks, strokes and dementia.

The Government says that complaints about noise are highest among the most economically deprived areas, with those in more disadvantaged areas as much as three times as likely to suffer from noise nuisance.

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.

Noise Abatement Society chief executive Gloria Elliott OBE 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.

“Communities across the UK are increasingly suffering from this entirely avoidable blight. The Noise Abatement Society applauds rigorous, evidence-based solutions to address this issue and protect the public.”

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