Guidance

How to apply to Highways England for noise insulation

If your property is affected by road noise from a Highways England road you may qualify for their noise insulation scheme.

Highways England have introduced a noise insulation scheme to provide practical assistance to residents who experience the highest levels of noise from the roads we manage. We refer to the location of these noise hotspots as “Noise Important Areas”.

The scheme is funded by the Environment Designated Fund and aims to provide support to properties in Noise Important Areas where other noise reduction measures (such as barriers or low noise surfacing) are not appropriate.

The scheme is not a grant scheme; we do not give you funds to carry out the work yourself. We assess your property and our contractors will do any agreed work.

This scheme is not compulsory – you do not have to apply. If your property is eligible for support our contractor will contact you.

Funding will be available up until 31 March 2020.

Eligible properties

Eligible properties:

  • lie within a Highways England “Noise Important Area” containing fewer than 10 properties

Noise Important Areas capture the top 1% of the population affected by the highest noise levels from major roads.

There are approximately 1,130 “Noise Important Areas” adjacent to major roads outside urban areas and approximately 2,700 important areas adjacent to major roads within urban areas. During the first 3 years of the scheme we plan to mitigate over 1000 of these Noise Important Areas.

Is my property eligible?

You will receive an offer letter from Highways England inviting you to apply if you are eligible.

Before you make contact

Tenants

We are unable to undertake the improvements without the written permission of the property owner. If you provide us with the contact details for the property owner we will make contact directly to discuss the scheme with them.

Home owners

You will need to check the terms of your mortgage agreement/shared ownership scheme and seek the relevant approvals for the improvement if necessary.

Listed buildings

If your house is classified as a Listed Building as described in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, you may need Listed Building Consent. Your local authority can help you to determine if you need to apply for consent.

If Highways England approves noise insulation work, we will allocate a contractor. The contractor will make available details of the intended changes to assist you in applying to the local authority.

General Data Protection Regulation

Accessing support from the Noise Insulation scheme means you agree to the sharing of personal data between Highways England and our contractor.

How it works

We will assess your property and then improve noise insulation as needed. Typically this would include upgrading windows, bi-folding doors and patio doors in rooms that we consider “noise sensitive”. This includes:

  • bedrooms
  • living/reception rooms
  • dining rooms/areas
  • studies

We would not consider bathrooms, toilets, hallways/landings, utility rooms and kitchens without dining areas to be noise sensitive.

Conservatories are excluded, as is outside space such as gardens or back yards.

By prioritising rooms considered noise sensitive we are able to offer more homes access to the scheme.

Windows are replaced on a “like for like” basis. For most people this will mean standard uPVC double glazed windows. However if you already have wooden, frosted, leaded, stained glass or other specialist windows then this is what we will fit.

The windows are fitted with “acoustic ventilation” – this allows you to air the room without opening the window. If opened, the window will still let noise in. These ventilation units are low voltage and energy efficient so running costs will be minimal.

Assessment

If your property is eligible we will arrange for surveyors to visit you to assess current levels of road noise.

We will work with you to determine a time that is convenient for you.

Survey time slots will be made on a first come first served basis. If you have any special circumstances or feel that assistance will be required, let us know when you apply.

The surveyors will undertake measurements inside and outside your property in noise sensitive rooms with windows open and windows closed. Someone will need to be present to allow access inside the property during the survey.

The surveyors will also need to determine:

  • which side(s) of the property face the road
  • the internal layout – to determine the location of rooms we would class as noise sensitive
  • the number and size of windows
  • the positioning of ventilation

Our contractor will explain the findings of the survey to you and will be able to answer further questions. They will then send you a report capturing their findings. You will be able to contact us on the phone number shown on your appointment letter or by email to NoiseInsulation@highwaysengland.co.uk if you have any concerns. You will be able to contact the contractor to discuss the report should you need to.

Installation

If we approve work to go ahead we will select an accredited contractor to carry out the work.

We select contractors based on previous proven performance levels, reliability and quality of service. All selected contractors will be subject to DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service). UPVc windows and doors will be installed to British Standard 7412:2007.

We will send the contractor a copy of your survey report. They will then make contact to arrange a visit to discuss the details of the installation. Someone will need to be present to allow access to the property.

Before work starts, you will be asked to sign a consent form to allow the works to take place. Within your copy of the agreement will be a list of contacts for assistance.

Our contractor will make good all damage to decoration/plasterwork around sills, frames and ventilation units. To ensure this happens, Highways England will not pay the contractor for the installation until the works have been signed off.

The extent of redecoration works to be undertaken will be agreed before we begin.

You will be able to contact us on the phone number shown on your appointment letter or by email to NoiseInsulation@highwaysengland.co.uk during or after the installation process.

Post installation

Once installation is complete and is considered satisfactory as agreed within the contract, you will own the windows and ventilation units. This means you will be responsible for maintaining and, in due course, replacing the glazing and/or ventilation units.

The windows come with a 25-year guarantee. Wall vents, extraction units and so on come with a 15 year guarantee. Seals will be guaranteed for a least 10 years and fans for at least 5 years.

If the glazing or the ventilation units fail within the guarantee period you should contact the supplier to make arrangements for replacement or repair.

Published 10 June 2017
Last updated 3 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Text of all sections updated.
  2. First published.