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Noise cameras to trial in England and Wales

Noise cameras will be trialled in four areas of England and Wales this summer – the BMF has already reported that Paris had begun the widespread use of noise cameras (see here), which can automatically detect individual cars and bikes breaking noise limits. The cameras can also provide real-time reports which are acceptable to the police as evidence.

Noise cameras are already in limited use by Westminster Council around Waterloo Place and Exhibition Road, but this new move could be the precursor to a nationwide roll-out of the new technology.

Transport Secretary
Grant Shapps

The location of the four trial areas has yet to be decided, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is inviting residents to lobby their MP to submit applications to take part. “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,” the Transport Secretary said.

The trials are being led by the Atkins-Jacobs joint venture. Director Andrew Pearce said:“Testing different noise measurement technologies with a range of vehicles in this controlled environment means we can ensure tickets are only sent to drivers with illegal and anti-social cars or bikes. Highway authorities will be able to automate noise enforcement and get on top of the problem without using up valuable police resources.”

 

Jim Freeman, BMF Chair, added: “I can foresee plenty of ‘push back’ against this enforcement solution, just as there was when Gatsos were introduced. However, in an environment where police forces are increasingly reluctant to deploy officers to traffic duties, it’s easy to understand why this is happening.

Just as with Gatsos, when road users complained of being targeted for ‘minor speeding infractions’, and that it should only be used against ‘gross infringements’ of the law, a technology-based solution is not discretionary. Either you are exceeding the limit, whether speed or noise, or you’re not.

As a vulnerable road-user, I might wish to have more officers with experience and discretion out and about on our roads; but like Gatsos, noise cameras will target anti-social behaviour, while providing a ‘nice little earner’ for the operators. Anyone with an illegal exhaust system, whether on two or four wheels, I’m afraid it’s a case of ‘reap what you sow’.

Let’s just hope the system is capable of differentiating between the different standards applicable to bikes of different ages. A 1950s classic cannot be judged by the same standards applicable to a 2022 model.”

 

Words by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of viginoiz.com

In article image courtesy of EPA

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