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Vehicles: Exhausts

Volume 704: debated on Tuesday 21 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the modification or replacement of motor vehicle exhaust systems in order to produce a greater level of noise is in conformity with European Union type approval regulations; and what enforcement action they will take to discourage any contraventions of the regulations. [HL5603]

European-Union-type approval legislation in relation to vehicle noise is primarily concerned with ensuring that new vehicles meet specified noise limits and exhaust standards before they are permitted to enter into service. Mandatory EU-type approval requirements have been transposed into UK regulations.

Control of vehicle noise in service is governed by domestic legislation. Under regulation 54 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended, alteration of the exhaust system of a vehicle so as to increase the noise made by the escape of exhaust gases is an offence. The regulation forbids both the alteration of the silencer itself so as to make the vehicle noisier and the alteration of the exhaust system (by, for instance, replacing the silencer with one of a different pattern) so as to make the vehicle noisier.

At MoT, test vehicle testers are required to fail vehicles which are excessively noisy for their type. Enforcement on public roads is carried out by the police, who are able to take action if they suspect a vehicle contravenes construction and use noise, or other, requirements. They have further powers to address noise nuisance under the Police Reform Act 2002 and the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 under which anti-social behaviour orders can be served on the vehicle owner, imposing a ban from certain roads or even vehicle confiscation.