£300,000 pilot to crackdown on ‘boy racers’ with noise pollution cameras in Birmingham & 3 other areas

In Birmingham the noise camera trial will take place at Heartlands Parkway. It is starting in Bradford and will also take place in South Gloucestershire, near Bristol and Great Yarmouth

New noise-detecting traffic cameras will be deployed in Birmingham in a trial to crack down on “boy racers” - who create noise pollution by revving engines and use illegal exhausts. Noise pollution is known to contribute to health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and dementia.

In Birmingham, the camera will be installed on Heartlands Parkway. The camera trial is coming to the city after lobbying by Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood who had received complaints from her constiuents.

“Noisy exhausts and nightmare car cruisers have plagued our city for far too long. That’s why I’m delighted to have secured the noise camera trial in Birmingham, which will clampdown on antisocial driving, by working alongside our partners in West Midlands Police and the council,” she told BirminghamWorld.

“I’ll continue standing shoulder to shoulder with residents to tackle antisocial behaviour and criminality blighting our communities,” said MP Shabana.

Noise camera trials have taken off in England Noise camera trials have taken off in England
Noise camera trials have taken off in England

How will the noise camera trial work?

Birmingham is one of four locations where the trial is taking place. The trial is backed by £300,000 government investment.

The new-age road camera was designed to identify and track drivers who break the law by revving engines and using modified exhausts. It was installed in Bradford on 18 October and will soon travel to South Gloucestershire, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham where it will be used on Heartlands Parkway over the next two months as part of a trial to clampdown on antisocial driving.

Birmingham - where an injunction banning street cruising until 1 September had been in place - was confirmed as one of four locations to host the new camera after a government-backed competition to tackle noise pollution on some of the loudest streets in Britain.

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 have local councillors said about the noise pollution camera trials?

Councillor Lee Marsham, said: “I’m delighted that our local MP, Shabana Mahmood, has listened to our concerns about boy racers near Star City worked with Birmingham City Council to secure this trial. These cameras will help make Nechells safer – delivering for our residents.”

How will the technology by monitored?

For the project, Atkins-Jacobs Joint Venture is acting as a technical consultant for the trials. They are 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.”

The impact of noise pollution and what you complain about?

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.

Councils must look into complaints about noise that could be a ‘statutory nuisance’ (covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990), according to Gov.uk.

Noise can be called a statutory nuisance if it is unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises and if it injures health or be likely to injure health.

Councils have to look into noise from premises including land like gardens and certain vessels (for example, loud music or barking dogs) as well as vehicles, machinery or equipment in the street (for example, music from car stereos).

Traffic noise in BirminghamTraffic noise in Birmingham
Traffic noise in Birmingham

What has the Government said about the trial?

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.

“The department 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.”

What have anti-noise campaigners said about the noise camera trial?

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.”

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