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New ‘noise cameras’ to target loud car exhausts

Hugo Griffiths 2019-06-08 17:00

Owners of cars with exhausts that are too loud, and those who rev their engines, face fines as ANPR noise camera tech is tested

The latest Government crackdown on cars will see ANPR cameras equipped with noise detectors, testing technology that could see owners of vehicles with exhausts that breach noise limits issued with fines. Drivers who rev their engines “beyond legal limits” will also be targeted.

The news comes after the Department for Transport announced it would attempt to tackle the noise pollution that “makes the lives of people in communities across Britain an absolute misery,” by testing acoustic cameras at “several” locations over the next seven months. While no fines will be issued during the trial period, the DfT is clear that the prototype noise detectors could be linked to automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras “to help enforce the law”.

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There are around 8,700 ANPR cameras operated by police and councils in the UK, with the cameras making 10 billion number plate scans a year, and issuing around fines worth £472 million over five years.

The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, also claims noise pollution has “very serious health impacts”, while the DfT cites evidence that exposure to noise is associated with “heart attacks, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and stress”. Grayling added: “I look forward to seeing how these exciting new cameras could work.

The current legal noise limit for car meeting type approval is 74 decibels, and it is it is illegal to modify a car’s exhaust system to make it noisier than the level at which it passed type approval with. The DfT is clear that if the acoustic camera trials are successful it will recommend the system is developed and rolled out across the country.

Motorcyclists will also be targeted by the cameras, with the Motorcycle Industry Association’s chief executive, Tony Campbell, saying the “illegal exhausts fitted by some riders attract unwanted attention to the motorcycle community and do nothing to promote the many benefits motorcycles can offer.”

Do you think noise detectors on UK roads are a good idea? Let us know in the comments…

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