A Conservative MP has announced plans to introduce a noise camera on the A272

The Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, Conservative MP Gillian Keegan, has announced plans to introduce a noise camera on the A272.

A272 passes between trees. - Sabre Roads

Last week, we reported on the planned trial by the UK government of ‘noise cameras’ across England and Wales this summer. 

The plan was reported by the British Motorcyclists Federation, and includes the use of sound-sensitive cameras to monitor and help control noise pollution. 

Now, we have confirmation from a politician about the plan, and their endorsement of it. 

Gillian Keegan is a Conservative Party member, the MP for Chichester and, since 2021, the Minister of State for Care and Mental Health in the Department of Health and Social Care. 

“For several years I’ve been working closely with communities, councillors, and Sussex Police to reduce the impact noisy vehicles have across the Downs,” Keegan wrote in a Facebook post. “All of us from the area know how loud and dangerous drivers can be on our rural roads, rapidly and recklessly accelerating, overtaking, and speeding around corners – especially motorbikes.

“Continuing this work, I have put in an application for an acoustic camera along the A272, as part of a trial being held by the Department for Transport,” Keegan’s statement continued. “It’s not guaranteed, but I am optimistic as it has the support of the County Council and Sussex Police. If granted, this acoustic camera could be a useful enforcement tool to combat noise pollution in the countryside, so I am extremely grateful to everyone supporting my application.”

From a motorcyclists’ perspective, it is alarming to see motorcycles singled out in such a negative way by a government minister, undoubtedly. And, further to that, in our previous coverage of noise cameras, we wrote that the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, plans to introduce noise cameras to help those living in “Britain’s noisiest streets.” In that way, noise cameras are quite agreeable. In cities and urban areas, it would be understandable - especially at night, for example - for noise limits to be implemented. 

But, here, Keegan is talking about “rural” roads, and the A272 is precisely that. It goes through fields, connecting towns with other towns. So, what is the benefit of restricting noise in places which are largely empty? Where the impact on people is relatively low? And, if it is about speed or safety, it is very possible to quite quickly, quite quietly, and even with combustion. Sure, electrics are the pinnacle of stealthy speed when it comes to personal transport, but even the car the author of this article is learning to drive in can sit at 5mph above whatever the speed limit happens to be on that road with 2,000 revs. Therefore, this feels like motorcycles are being specifically targeted here, which makes for a very uncomfortable feeling.

Images courtesy of Sabre Roads.

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