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homeThursday 23rd November 2017

Evening road works pose noise threat

Stuart Spear07/09/2017 - 11:05

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Evening work risks noise complaints
Evening work risks noise complaints

The CIEH has raised concerns that the Department for Transport is failing to consider the night noise implications under its new proposals to charge utility companies by the hour for disruptive road works.

On 2 September the DfT launched its Road works: The future of lane rental consultation. The proposals look at extending trials in Kent and London that have seen congestion levels fall by 50 per cent.

Under the trials utility companies are encouraged to carry out road works in the evening or weekend to reduce the period of disruption. Local highway authorities have had the power to charge companies £2,500 for each day a road is disrupted by works.

‘The consultation is vague about what is meant by evening work and with heavy penalties being levied there will be an incentive for companies to potentially operate during anti-social hours causing potential noise issues for residents,’ said Tony Lewis CIEH head of policy.

‘One way around this could be that when letting out contracts to companies, noise levels are set by working with environmental health teams who could calculate ambient noise and then set a reasonable noise level that avoids disrupting local residents.’

While local authorities have no powers under nuisance legislation to mitigate noise on the highway, residents will be unlikely to know this and so would most likely approach their local noise team if evening operations became disruptive.

Under the Kent and London trials fines are designed to improve planning, coordination and working methods, encourage working outside peak times and reduce the length of time taken to complete works.

The DfT estimates there are around 2.5million road works carried out in England each year, many causing congestion and disruption to journeys estimated to cost the economy around £4billion.   

The LGA transport spokesperson Martin Tett said: ‘The LGA has been calling for lane rental powers for councils for a number of years. We are delighted that the Government has accepted our calls and acknowledged the success of pilot schemes in London and Kent.‘Councils are on the side of frustrated motorists who find themselves spending wasted hours held up in tailbacks. We’re confident these new measures will help minimise delays from roadworks, and keep traffic moving on our local roads.’

The consultation closes on 28 October.

 

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