At last, those affected by road noise have hope

Rick Jackson believes Big Ben's bongs should not be silenced

RICK JACKSON: Our las total eclipse was typically British – cloudy

0
Have your say

There are players in the England World Cup squad who weren’t even born when the notorious A27 ‘roar’ began to plague residents living near a section of the road.

For more than 20 years, they have complained about the noise pollution caused by cars using the Havant flyover. The problem is that the elevated section makes the sound travel across the town.

Campaigners have called for the stretch to be resurfaced to cut down on the rumble, but this hasn’t happened (even though a stretch from Emsworth to Chichester has been resurfaced).

They’ve also asked for noise barriers to reduce the effect of traffic. Again, no joy from the Highways Agency. The response has always been that funds for such improvements are not available.

That’s very easy for bean counters in a remote office to say. They are not the ones having their daily lives blighted by a racket that could be reduced.

We’re talking about a noise that has been recorded at 84.3 decibels – the equivalent of a vacuum cleaner or dustbin lorry. A noise so bad that people whose homes back on to the A27 can barely even go into their gardens.

After so long, residents could be forgiven for thinking that they simply wouldn’t get anywhere, no matter how convincing a case they made.

But at last we report today on a letter to Havant MP David Willetts from parliamentary under-secretary for transport Robert Goodwill that suggests there might actually be the prospect of action.

The government is talking about investing in the strategic road networks and the A27 between Portsmouth and Eastbourne is the focus of a major review to see how it can be improved.

Mr Goodwill says the impact of noise is relevant to both the A27 Corridor Feasibility Study and the South Coast Central Route Based Strategy and that the Highways Agency must take into account the way people have been affected.

After being ignored for so long, this has to be good news. But as we await the first results of a review in the autumn, any scepticism is entirely understandable.