News story

New noise camera trial to crack down on illegal vehicles

The government has commissioned a prototype noise camera to be tested at several locations over the next 7 months.

How noise cameras work.
  • new technology will aim to detect illegal, excessively noisy vehicles, helping create quieter streets
  • noise cameras could work like speed cameras to target law-breaking drivers automatically
  • trials to take place at several locations over the coming months

The Department for Transport is targeting drivers who disturb communities with a crackdown on vehicles which are breaking legal noise limits.

New camera technology to be trialled by the government aims to measure the sound levels of passing vehicles to detect those that are breaking the law on noise limits, and could use automated number plate recognition to help enforce the law.

Research commissioned by the Department for Transport, found that a noise camera system could help tackle extremely noisy vehicles which breach legal noise limits.

It could also help to catch those who rev car or motorcycles engines beyond legal limits, making life a misery for those who live close by.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling said:

Noise pollution makes the lives of people in communities across Britain an absolute misery and has very serious health impacts.

This is why I am determined to crack down on the nuisance drivers who blight our streets.

New technology will help us lead the way in making our towns and cities quieter, and I look forward to seeing how these exciting new cameras could work.

The trial is not intended to target law-abiding drivers, but those who are flouting laws around noise. All vehicles must legally meet strict noise limits before they are allowed on the road. Once a vehicle is in service, exhausts and silencers must by law be maintained in good working order and not altered to increase noise.

CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, Tony Campbell, said:

With growing pressure on the environment, including noise pollution, illegal exhausts fitted by some riders attract unwanted attention to the motorcycle community and do nothing to promote the many benefits motorcycles can offer.

All manufacturers produce new motorcycles that follow strict regulations regarding noise and emissions and we welcome these trials as a potential way of detecting excessive noise in our community.

Studies have found that exposure to noise can have significant physical and mental health implications – with heart attacks, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stress all linked to long-term contact with loud environments.

Currently, enforcement is mainly reactive and relies on subjective judgement. The trials of the new technology will determine whether the legal noise limit has been breached by taking into account the class and speed of the vehicle relative to the location of the noise camera.

The government has commissioned a prototype noise camera to be tested at several locations over the next 7 months. If the trials are successful, recommendations will be made to further develop the system across the UK.

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Published 8 June 2019