HC Deb 28 January 2004 vol 417 cc360-1W
Sue Doughty

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on Government strategy for decreasing the noise disturbances arising from main roads in residential areas, with particular reference to relevant measures in the Traffic Management Bill. [148369]

Mr. Jamieson

The Government recognise that traffic noise from main roads can be a significant nuisance, particularly where they run close to or through local communities. The Government are committed to reducing such noise and our strategy is to set vehicle construction standards that reduce noise at source wherever feasible and desirable on safety grounds. We also encourage the mitigation of noise with insulation, barriers, traffic management measures and low noise surfaces. The implementation of mitigation measures on the trunk road and motorway network, for which the Highways Agency is responsible, concentrates first on the most pressing locations. It is doing this by a variety of means, most importantly through a programme of re-surfacing all concrete roads with quieter materials by 31 March 2011 and re-surfacing blacktop roads with quieter materials as and when they require maintenance. In addition, the Government provides funds to local authorities to maintain local roads, though how much they spend and what they spend it on is their choice.

The primary aim of the Traffic Management Bill is to improve the smooth flow of traffic but there are a number of reasons for believing that it will also help with noise problems. For example, better management of traffic incidents and street works will reduce the disruption caused to traffic and the noise created by slow-moving heavy traffic. It will also minimise the incentive for motorists to divert along adjacent residential roads.

The Government are also encouraging a substantial growth in investment in public transport. This will help reduce traffic noise by providing the public with a greater choice over how they travel.

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