Headlines: March 5th, 2007



Environmental campaigners and the motoring organisation, the RAC Foundation, have joined forces to call today for the reinstatement of funding for the programme to make road surfaces quieter. The Foundation’s call, supported by the UK Noise Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, comes at the beginning of a week in which the House of Commons will see a Ten Minute Rule Bill debate on Rural Tranquility.

A ten-year plan published by the Government in 2000 promised to resurface 60 per cent of Britain’s road network using materials designed to cut traffic noise. It also pledged that whenever roads were resurfaced during routine maintenance this would be done with quieter materials. The Government also said any remaining concrete trunk roads not resurfaced as part of scheduled maintenance would be resurfaced for noise reasons by the end of March 2011. Today’s call draws attention to a statement on the Highways Agency’s website which says, ” However, the resurfacing of concrete roads ahead of maintenance need, for noise reasons, is no longer allocated funding. As a result, any remaining concrete roads will now only be resurfaced with quieter materials when the surface requires maintenance.”

The Foundation says quieter road surfaces can cut traffic noise by almost half. A porous asphalt surface can reduce noise by between four and eight decibels. A 10-decibel reduction is regarded as halving the noise heard by people. It wants the Government to use the debate on the bill to announce the reinstatement of funding for the replacement of all concrete trunk roads by 2011.

Sheila Rainger, Campaigns Manger at the Foundation, said, “Reinstating funding for the strategic programme to resurface our trunk roads with quieter materials by 2011 would be a simple, popular and relatively inexpensive way to cut traffic noise.” Val Weedon, Co-ordinator of the UK Noise Association, said 12 million people said they were disturbed by traffic noise and quieter surfaces would make a huge difference to their quality of life.