Automotive

UK noise cameras are coming to silence thunderous exhausts

UK noise cameras are coming to...
Excessively noisy vehicles are the target of a trial in the UK
Excessively noisy vehicles are the target of a trial in the UK
View 1 Image
Excessively noisy vehicles are the target of a trial in the UK
1/1
Excessively noisy vehicles are the target of a trial in the UK

Gearheads love noisy engines, but this enthusiasm is rarely shared by the general public – hence, the UK is trialing new noise camera technology. Just like speed cameras, they'll sit by the roadside watching and listening 24/7 to identify and ticket vehicles that exceed legal noise limits.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is on the warpath, stating that, "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."

As one part of Grayling's approach, a range of online tools will make it easier for people to report noisy vehicles. But there will also be automated noise camera systems put in place. These will comprise video and audio recording equipment, as well as automatic number plate recognition capabilities.

There will be plenty of complexities involved – different vehicle classes can have different noise restrictions. What's more, noise limits on new cars have been progressively tightening between 1978, when they were allowed to make 82 dB, and today's 74-dB limit. Add to that the significant compounding factors of background noise, clanky trailer noise, sirens and noise from other vehicles, and the fact that sound pressure levels change significantly with distance, and measuring these things with any degree of accuracy will be difficult.

Let's face it, though, if something's borderline legal, it's probably not what this program has been designed to attack. We imagine there will be a fair bit of leeway built in, and that only the real tooth-rattlers will be targeted.

That was about the outcome of previous trials of similar technology in Australia, in which a soft enforcement approach was taken to "encourage" owners of noisy trucks to maintain or upgrade their vehicles. A review of previous efforts can be found in the Phase 1 Study Report and Technology Recommendations document that underpins these new measures.

Motorcycle Industry Association CEO Tony Campbell was vocal in his support of the idea: "Illegal exhausts fitted by some riders attract unwanted attention to the motorcycle community and do nothing to promote the many benefits motorcycles can offer."

The system will be trialed over the next seven months, with a view to developing it further if it's successful.

Source: Gov.UK

7 comments
vince
Bikers are usually the worst noise offenders. Usually Harleys with straight pipes and NO muffler or a fake one designed to fool cops limited knowledge. Hate these fools. May the finger of fate push them over a railing...
redlen
This is all well and good but the worst polluters are the unserviced diesel cars and vans that choke me every day with their black smoke billowing out the back of their exhaust. Surely cameras can easily detect the black smoke and apply the penalties by placing the cameras at points of high acceleration. Try riding a bike near these morons!!!
musheen
Is there anything NOT illegal in the UK?
owlbeyou
Here in Quebec, the law states that photo speed traps have to be indicated...so everyone just slows down to the speed limit for about a kilometer, but it is effective in calming traffic overall. As far as exhaust noise goes, the racket is only induced when the rider of the hawg hits the throttle, so the same tactic could be used if there's an noise-radar indicator. If not, it's a cat and mouse game. Harley's aren't the only racket-inducing wheels on the road, but I live on a main street where they frequently take advantage when they see no cops around.
Nik
Yet another back door taxation! First it will be set low, then gradually increased, and then added to, like the, London ''congestion charge,'' that has been steadily increased, and then had ''emissions charge'' added to it. Any sound pollution, from the odd vehicle, is very brief, just a few seconds, at most, and the cost of installing all the technology to detect it and to maintain the equipment will be significant, so the charges will have to go up, and up, and up! Vehicle noise emission could be easily integrated with the annual vehicle test, which would incur no extra costs, but of course that would eliminate the opportunity for ''back door tax.'' I voted for the UK, with my feet, and emigrated. I also voted for ''Brexit'' as I now live in Europe, and didnt want my life 'polluted' by the UK's ''police state'' mentality!
Robert in Vancouver
Hope we get these cameras in Canada ans start handing out big fines to bikes and cars that are way over the reasonable noise limit. Cars with boom box stereos are even worse than a Harley with no muffler when they park near you and turn up the volume.
amazed W1
You can't hear an electric vehicle approaching unless it has noisy tyres, so, Nik, in the interests of the (sacred) H&S will such vehicles be compelled to use noisy tyres at the same time that noisy engine and exhaust will be compelled to pay up and adjust? The new UK Highway Code will have to produce a new set of signs for noise levels, including the "Average noise level checks" accompanying the average speed checks notices at those speed limited motorway repair zones.