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Roads (Noise Reduction)

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) pursuant to his written statement of 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 49WS, on trunk roads, when he will announce the concrete roads due to be resurfaced from April 2007; [109029](2) what budget has been allocated for noise reduction work on concrete roads and motorways for

(a) 2003–04 and (b) 2004–05; [108980]

(3) what percentage of the money allocated for noise reduction work on the motorway network for 2002–03 was spent; [108979]

(4) what criteria are used for selecting which roads should be resurfaced for noise reduction. [108981]

I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Oaten, dated 14 April 2003:

David Jamieson has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about noise reduction measures on the trunk road and motorway network.
In 2002–03, the Agency spent £5.9 million on noise mitigation measures such as noise barriers on trunk roads and motorways, against a ring fenced annual budget of £5 million. In addition, it is our policy to use low-noise surfacing whenever a road surface needs renewing. In 2002–03, £235 million was spent on resurfacing trunk roads and motorways, two per cent. above the budget for this work.
For 2003–04, the allocation for resurfacing concrete trunk roads and motorways is £52 million. The programme for 2004–05 currently still under development. We shall be resurfacing the highest priority sections of concrete road ahead of maintenance need, in order to reduce traffic noise.
Following consultation with local highways authorities and others, the following criteria were announced on 17 October 2001 for prioritising the surfacing of concrete roads with quieter material:
  • (i)that wherever possible the application of quieter surfaces will fit in with normal maintenance needs;
  • (ii)that priority will be given to those sites where treatment would benefit the greatest number of people;
  • (iii)that the works will be carried out in such a way to minimise disruption to the general public and users of the network;
  • (iv)that priority will be given to roads, opened since June 1988, where actual noise levels have turned out to be significantly higher than predicted at the time of the public inquiry.
  • These criteria have been used to prioritise the list of schemes announced on 1 April. The main determinants of priority are the number of properties affected (proxy for criterion ii) and for newer roads, the increase in noise levels above those predicted at public inquiry (criterion iv). The high priority group is defined by sections of road which affect more than 100 properties per km or for which the current noise level is at least 3 dB(A) greater than predicted at public inquiry (an increase of 3 dB(A) is equivalent to the noise increase expected from a doubling of the volume of traffic on a road). The medium priority group is defined by sections of road which affect more than 10 properties per km or for which the current noise level is 1 dB(A) greater than predicted at public inquiry, which equates to a noticeable noise increase.
    It is expected that the sections indicated as having a high priority will be completed by the end of March 2007, subject to funding being available. We expect to resurface sections of road in the medium or low priority groups between April 2007 and March 2011, subject to funding being available. Where there is an identified maintenance need, some of the medium or low priority sections may be resurfaced earlier, for road safety reasons.
    If you need any further information, please contact Martin Steward at the Highways Agency, Broadway, Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1BL telephone number 0121 678 8324.

    Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions—inward secondments 2001–02








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