Tunnel has proved to be bad news for some people

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There is no doubt that the Hindhead tunnel has been welcomed by all those in this area who drive to and from London. Journey times have been slashed and commuters no longer sit nose to tail at peak times.

To them, the tunnel is good news. But what of those who live along the routes that get all these vehicles to the tunnel? All they seem to have ended up with is increased noise as more and more motorists use the A3M and A3.

For householders all the way from Grayshott and Liphook to Bedhampton, the tunnel is bad news. They are subjected to a roar all day and find their gardens are out of bounds because of the noise.

Nobody is saying that the tunnel should never have been built. It was badly needed and has transformed traffic flow at what was a notorious bottleneck.

But it does seem unfair that some residents are now suffering the consequences.

So we are pleased to see that a task force has been set up by Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council to put pressure on the Highways Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to take action to reduce the noise.

A joint working party has already requested resurfacing measures, particularly where the A27 joins the A3M in Bedhampton.

That would certainly help. The A3, north from the Lakesmere interchange in Horndean, has been resurfaced recently and is appreciably quieter.

In these days of government budget constraints, councillors and residents may be unrealistic in calling for the entire road to have a new top dressing. But we certainly think the Highways Agency should look at what work is feasible.

It should also be considering noise-deadening measures, such as barriers, that it could introduce. A first step should definitely be a noise mapping survey to find out where the worst spots are – the previous survey was done before the tunnel opened and traffic increased.

But if that is to help the residents, it needs to be followed by action.