A new type of roadside camera that detects sound levels will be deployed in four areas across the UK as part of a £300,000 trial to stamp out noise pollution and anti-social driving.

The cameras, which will be used in Bradford, Bristol, Great Yarmouth and Birmingham over the next two months, will target illegal exhausts and “boy racers” revving engines. If the trial is successful, the cameras could be rolled out across the UK. 

The Department for Transport (DfT) says the cameras make use of video and microphones to identify “excessively noisy” vehicles. If a vehicle exceeds a certain measurement, it will be photographed and audibly recorded before a fine is issued by local police.

Autocar has contacted the DfT for more information about the cameras, including the exact decibel figure that is deemed “excessive”, and is awaiting a response. 

At the launch of the trial, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK transport secretary said: “Rowdy road drivers beware. These new cameras will help the police clamp down 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 government says excessive road noise can contribute to several health issues, such as strokes, dementia and heart attacks. It also claims the cost of urban road noise, which can impact sleep disturbance and productivity, is an estimated £10 billion each year. 

Noise Abatement Society chief executive Gloria Elliott 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.”

Current legislation in the UK states exhausts should be “maintained in good working order and not altered so as to increase noise,” with fines standing at £50 for non-compliant vehicles. 

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