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DfT noise camera trials take off


Helen Olsen Bedford Publisher

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Image source: iStock/RistoArnaudov

'Noise camera' trials have gone live in Bradford to detect rowdy drivers and crack down on ‘boy racers’ revving engines and using illegal exhausts.

In a programme run by the Department for Transport (DfT), the cameras will then move on to Bristol, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham as part of a £300,000 trial to tackle the annual social cost of road noise pollution – currently estimated at £10 billion.

The new technology uses a video camera in conjunction with microphones to accurately pinpoint excessively noisy vehicles as they pass by. If drivers break the law by revving their engines unnecessarily or using illegal exhausts, they will be automatically detected, photographed, time stamped and noise levels recorded in order to create a digital package of evidence which can be used by local police to fine drivers.

Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "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."

Competition and testing

The DfT launched a competition to identify the areas to host the cameras in April and extensive testing at a private test track facility took place to perfect the technology.

Now in the next phase, the locations for these roadside trials have been decided based on the impact to local residents of illegal noisy vehicles, after MPs across the country applied for the camera to be set up in their local area. If successful, the cameras could be rolled out nationwide.

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

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.

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