Petition - Noise pollution in East Street, Fareham, Hampshire due to higher volumes of traffic

Response from Hampshire County Council, October 2020

Thank you for forwarding the petition from residents of East Street Fareham to the County Council.

Hampshire County Council takes seriously the question of noise generated from traffic using the road network for which it is responsible. As local highway authority it has a statutory duty to consider noise impacts from roads which contribute to excessive levels of noise identified in Noise Impact Areas as defined by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Presently this section of the A27 is not identified as a Noise Important Area.  This was supported by the recent local noise survey. Despite this I will arrange for a speed survey to be undertaken and if this points towards excessive speeds then this will be raised with the Police.  The County Council has recently established a new policy that it will consider changing speed limits where it can be justified for environmental as well as safety reasons. The enforcement of speed limits remains a Police matter.  Please be aware that the Highway Authority give strong weight to their views on changing speed limits and that they are not always supportive of such changes if they are unlikely to be complied with.

The County Council recognise traffic levels may have increased on the A27 over time due to background growth and the impact of development.  It reflects the strategic movement function of the A27 and changes in land uses over time.  It is an important route for all vehicles, enabling access from the towns and peninsula of Fareham and Gosport to the M27 at Junction 11 and all destinations beyond. The County Council is aware that Fareham Borough Council has sought to assess the environmental impacts of development and traffic growth in its evidence base for the local plan and that it considers such concerns before making development allocations. The Borough Council also collect development funding in the form of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).  There are many demands on this limited funding but this is potentially one of the only local funding sources available to fund noise abatement measures or to undertake detailed investigations and feasibility studies. Whilst the Government places a duty on highway authorities to consider noise issues it has not allocated any money towards measures to address it or investigate measures.

Where the County Council or developers improve the traffic capacity of the network and this results in bringing traffic closer to residential properties or potentially increasing noise levels a rigorous process of assessing environmental consequences and mitigating them is followed. This requires very carefully monitoring the traffic levels both before and after the change and where there is evidence that noise thresholds are exceeded, HCC will act to mitigate noise exceedances from new roads or plan them out in the design stage.

It is worth noting that  the County Council have investigated other measures to reduce nose and have tried low noise surfacing but it has been found to decay faster than other road surfaces and in the end results in higher noise levels and more expensive maintenance.

I will update you on the results of the speed survey and Police view in due course.

Yours sincerely
Councillor Rob Humby
Deputy Leader
Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment