The Chairman of the Noise Abatement Society has met the new Minister of Transport to discuss means whereby the MoT Road Vehicle maximum noise Regulations can be enforced. These regulations, drawn up in 1968, have so far proved impractical to enforce and 63 out of 64 UK Chief Constables declined to operate them. Less than a dozen prosecutions were brought in the first 18 months, compared to the norm of 12,000 under the Road Traffic Act, says the NAS sadly.
Now we are against excessive noise. But we are also jealous of motorists being prosecuted while operators of airliners, military aircraft (who . . . oh!), mechanical saws (ugh !—and they are usually felling age-old, beautiful trees), bands, ice-cream vending vans and the like are allowed to go on contributing a major part of the disturbing of the peace.
What the NAS is now proposingis that police and traffic wardens be armed with small “noise torches”, which will light up if a passing road vehicle exceeds the legal maximum noise level. The Reg. No. will then be recorded and a Central Registry would instruct the owner of the offending vehicle to submit proof that his vehicle complied with the regulations, by taking it to a Garage Testing Station for noise measurement. which need not cost the luckless owner more than 10s.”. So here is another burden we may be called upon to bear. It is easy to see the confusion wardens with “noise torches” could cause and how owners of passing vehicles in busy streets will have to pay to prove their innocence—thereby reversing the basis of British Justice. Moreover, who pays for the testing equipment, which “costs about £1,250 to manufacture”? And for the £10 each “noise torch” will cost?
We accept that quieter road vehicles are highly desirable, but not that wardens glancing at winking torches and motorists apprehended by post is the best way towards obtaining them. However, let us turn for a moment into the role of City advisor—if these “noise torches” and noise testing equipment look like being enforced, buy some shares in Dime Instruments Ltd., which seems to be the company interested in supplying them.