The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed new noise-sensing traffic cameras are now being installed in four areas across England. The cameras are being trialled to find out whether they can reduce the number of “racers” using illegal modified exhausts and revving their engines in an antisocial way.

The cameras were put in place earlier this week in Bradford, while South Gloucestershire, Birmingham and Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, will also host trial cameras. According to the government, the cameras are being installed to tackle noise pollution on “some of the loudest streets in Britain”.

Noise camera technology uses a video camera and a number of microphones to accurately pinpoint excessively noisy vehicles as they pass. The idea is that if drivers break the law by revving their engines unnecessarily or using illegal exhausts, they will be detected automatically, and the camera will send a package of evidence that can be used by police to fine drivers.

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The government claims the intervention is necessary because “road noise is known to contribute to health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and dementia”, while the DfT also claims “the annual social cost of urban road noise, including lost productivity from sleep disturbance and health costs, is estimated to be up to £10 billion”.

So far, just one camera has been installed in Keighley, Bradford, but they will also arrive at the other three selected location over the coming two months. Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the government would work with police and local authorities to catch those creating unnecessary noise.

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“Rowdy road drivers beware – these new cameras will help the police clampdown on those who break the legal noise limits or use illegal modified exhausts to make excessive noise in our communities,” she said. “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.”

Meanwhile, Noise Abatement Society chief executive Gloria Elliott said communities were “suffering” from the effects of noisy vehicles, and hoped the new cameras would help to solve the problem.

“Excessively noisy vehicles and anti-social driving causes disturbance, stress, anxiety and pain to many,” she said. “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.”

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