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Traffic Noise (M3)

Volume 480: debated on Monday 6 October 2008

The Petition of the residents of Basing and others,

Declares that traffic on M3 has increased dramatically between junctions 5 and 7 over the past 10 years; that this has led to significant increases in noise levels for many local residents, excessive peak time motorway tail backs and consequently unacceptable levels of rat running in our villages and suburban areas.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to implement their plan to install noise reducing road surfaces on all 6 lanes of the motorway and to put in place improvements to junction 6 to ease traffic flow at peak times.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mrs. Maria Miller, Official Report, 22 July 2008; Vol. 479, c. 758 .] [P000257]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport, received 9 September 2008:

Roads are resurfaced primarily to address maintenance need, not to reduce noise levels, although noise reduction is an additional benefit of maintenance work. The carriageway between junctions 6 and 7 is in serviceable condition and is not programmed for resurfacing in the near future. Approximately 15% of the carriageway of the M3 between junctions 5 and 6 has already been resurfaced with quieter surfacing. The plan, which is subject to the availability of funds in 2009/10, includes for at least a further 10% between junctions 5 and 6 to be resurfaced with quieter surfacing by April 2010.

The Highways Agency is working closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the production of noise maps and action plans in line with the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006. The maps for England’s roads were published on 16 May 2008 and the Agency is currently working with DEFRA and local authorities to develop a traffic noise action plan. Using these plans, the Agency will review the priorities and measures to provide noise mitigation solutions within the funds available.

Despite the traffic signals at junction 6 being managed to maximise traffic flows there can be tailbacks on the off slips of the M3 at Junction 6 during the morning peak period. A scheme is currently being developed to address the hazard of queuing on the main carriageway which will involve the off-slips at junction 6 being extended through the use of the hard shoulder. There is also a study programmed for 2009/10 to model the wider road network around junction 6 to assess the impact of the Growth Point status of Basingstoke to identify further options for improvement.