The government-run organisation responsible for England’s arterial routes has pledged to reduce noise pollution for thousands of homeowners in the coming year.
Highways England says it will take steps to cut noise levels in more than 1,000 areas close to motorways and large A-roads by 2020.
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The scheme will be backed by a £39 million special fund, which will pay for free double-glazing and the laying of new, quieter road surfaces.
Already, Highways England says it has installed double-glazing at more than 600 homes, as well as laying more than 6,000 miles of smoother, quieter blacktop since 2015. Furthermore, the organisation says it has adopted the policy of installing quieter road surfaces wherever possible.
Other sound-deadening measures include the installation so-called ‘noise barriers’ by the side of major roads in a bid to prevent some of the sound escaping into the surrounding areas.
One such barrier has already been constructed near the Nottinghamshire village of North Muskham, near Newark. There, a 600-metre long, three-metre-high fence has been constructed to reduce the impact of noise from the busy A1.
North Muskham Parish Council’s chair, Ian Harrison, said the residents have been asking for a barrier for some time, and some have even decided to plant shrubs around it to improve the aesthetic impact.
“The residents in North Muskham have been pressing for this for some years,” he said. “The completion provides a real difference to the volume of A1 traffic noise experienced especially by nearby residents.
“Some residents also requested that foliage be replanted to provide better aesthetic views and an environment for birds and other wildlife so the parish council made the request and we are grateful for the positive response.”
Ian Holmes, Highways England’s principal noise advisor, said the organisation had to consider its impact on those living near major roads, as well as the drivers using them.
“Around four million drivers travel on our roads every day but they impact many millions more – whether that’s businesses relying on long-distance deliveries or families in opposite ends of the country being able to get together for special occasions,” he said.
“Our roads also have an impact on the people who live near them and I’m pleased we’ve been able to reduce traffic noise levels for over 40,000 roadside residents since 2015 as part of our noise reduction schemes.
“It’s great to see that the new noise barrier we’ve installed in North Muskham in Nottinghamshire is proving popular with residents, and I’m sure the new shrubs they’ve planted will help make it pretty as well as practical.”