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M25 Noise Pollution

Volume 471: debated on Monday 28 January 2008

The Petition of residents of Chorleywood and others from the Constituency of South West Hertfordshire and others,

Declares that a large number of homes which are very close to the M25 near and between Junctions 17 and 18 suffer from considerable noise pollution from the motorway and that the forthcoming widening of the M25 will exacerbate this problem.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Transport and the Highways Agency to take effective measures to reduce the level of noise produced by the M25 near and between Junctions 17 and 18, including the provision of low noise surfacing of the motorway and effective noise-absorbing fencing.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. David Gauke, Official Report, 12 December 2007; Vol. 469, c. 432 .] [P000084]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The Highways Agency is planning to carry out major improvements on the M25 between Junctions 16 to 23 from 2009. This section of motorway is close to the towns of Chorleywood and Rickmansworth. This work will involve increasing the motorway width by one lane in each direction. This widening has been designed so that it can be carried out entirely within existing highway land.

It is a priority for any such schemes to take account of the impact on the local environment and local residents. To this end extensive studies have been carried out in the area affected. The findings of these were published in an Environmental Statement on 23 August 2007, which was available to be viewed and commented on for 12 weeks until 15 November 2007.

The biggest issue concerning residents has been noise levels from the motorway and potential increases as a result of the works. This was also a key concern in the environmental studies carried out.

These studies have shown that as a result of the low noise surfacing and improvements to noise barriers the majority of affected properties will experience a reduction in noise compared with the ‘no widening' option, while the increase in noise for virtually all the remaining properties will be at levels which are barely discernible

As a result the Environmental Statement has set out a commitment to provide low noise surfacing over the full width of the widened sections of carriageway. In addition there is a commitment to improve some existing noise barriers in the area and install some new ones. These commitments have been viewed by local residents at a series of public exhibitions.

The Highways Agency has reviewed the proposals for noise mitigation measures in the Environmental Statement in the light of the comments arising from these exhibitions. The Minister with responsibility for roads, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, South (Mr. Tom Harris) also met with David Gauke MP to discuss the proposed noise mitigation measures. The Minister was satisfied that the published proposals were appropriate and fully complied with the Secretary of State's obligations. The Minister agreed that existing barriers near junction 18 should be inspected and repaired if necessary as part of the widening scheme.