The Government have announced trials to introduce a new road camera that is designed to identify and track drivers who break the law by excessively revving their engines and using modified exhausts.

Bradford, South Gloucestershire, Great Yarmouth, and Birmingham will be used as the pilot areas for the scheme, as the Department for Transport (DfT) aims to clampdown on antisocial driving.

The trials, backed by £300,000 of Government investment, began with the introduction of a camera in Keighley, Bradford on Tuesday.

The following three locations will have cameras installed over the next two months.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan confirmed the initial locations for the new noise cameras following a government-backed competition to tackle noise pollution on some of the loudest streets in Britain.

Road noise is known to contribute to health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and dementia, and the annual social cost of urban road noise, including lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs is estimated to be up to £10 billion.

DfT launched the competition to identify the areas to host the cameras earlier this year. Following this, some extensive testing took place at a private test track.

Trevelyan commented: “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.”

How do noise cameras work?

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.

What does the future hold for noise cameras?

Following the initial four locations, the Government has revealed that should the trials be successful, there could be more of a widespread introduction to tackle ‘boy racers’ and inconsiderate road users with loud engines and exhausts.

According to the DfT, in the next phase, the locations for these roadside trials will be decided based on the impact to local residents of illegal noisy vehicles.

MPs from across England applied for the camera to be set up in their local area before the four locations were selected. Should the scheme be a success, they will likely be able to reapply to have them introduced in their constituency.

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.”

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

The noise camera is designed and developed by MicrodB.

Atkins Jacobs Joint Venture Practice Director Andrew Pearce said: “The real-world trials of the technology solution the Atkins Jacobs JV has developed and tested on the track is an important step for the scheme towards solving a problem that affects many communities across the UK.

“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.”

What do you make of this announcement from the government? Will it help tackle noise pollution on our roads?


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