HC Deb 25 April 2002 vol 384 cc387-8W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what grants are available for noise insulation. [45750]

Mr. Jamieson

I have been asked to reply

No such grants are available centrally.

There are statutory requirements for the provision of noise insulation in specified circumstances, in respect of noise from various sources. Under the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975 the appropriate highway authority will provide insulation in the form of secondary glazing to the windows and glazed doors, of dwellings and other buildings used for residential purposes, or payment of grants for this purpose, where such properties are not more than 300 m from the nearest point of a new highway, including an additional carriageway added to an existing highway, or an alteration affecting the line or level of an existing highway. The provision of insulation or grant is subject to there being an increase, or expected increase, in noise on the fa"ade of the property attributable to the traffic on the new or altered highway from that prevailing before construction started, provided this is above a prescribed level.

Under the Noise Insulation (Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems) Regulations 1996 an authority responsible for constructing a new railway, tramway or other guided transport system, or for adding to an existing system, has a similar duty to provide insulation for dwellings and other buildings used for residential purposes, or to pay grant for that purpose.

Similar statutory schemes have been made under s79 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, and previous powers, requiring provision of noise insulation in respect of aircraft noise at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. At other airports, noise insulation may be provided on a voluntary basis or in accordance with planning conditions.

Noise insulation schemes under any of these statutory provisions are subject to qualifying dates: they are not open-ended.

Local housing authorities could consider whether it would be appropriate to award a discretionary Home Repair Assistance grant to private home owners and tenants for noise insulation. The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002, if enacted, will provide authorities with a new general power which they could also use to this end.