Tackling motorway noise and the M4 improvements


I visited the recent exhibition given by the Highways Agency to consult on  its proposals for a managed motorway on the M4 from London.

The plan includes converting the hard shoulder into an additional lane for traffic, widening  bridges over the motorway, putting in new lay bys for vehicles in trouble, putting in speed and traffic sensors and a communications system to allow reduced speed limits where needed for safety or to improve running on a heavily congested road. The system will be similar to the M 25 western section and will run from Junction 3 to Junction 12.

I stressed to the Highways Agency that many of my constituents living close to the current motorway now experience an unacceptable level of motorway noise. This has grown much worse in recent years with higher volumes of traffic and more heavy traffic. I want to see the motorway resurfaced in these areas with noise reducing materials, as previously promised. I also want noise barriers installed near settlements, as at the moment we have only partial noise barriers installed, causing worse noise  problems on the opposite side of the road to the barrier where the barrier is only on one side but the homes are on both.

I will follow up my oral representations in writing. I suggest all constituents who are concerned about the motorway noise should also independently write to  the Highways Agency at


M4 Scheme

Highways Agency

The Cube

199 Wharfside Street

Birmingham B1 1RN


or email to M4J3to12SmartMotorways@highways.gsi.gov.uk


  1. alan jutson
    March 29, 2014

    Using the hard shoulder is simply kicking the can down the road.

    A hard shoulder was originally put in place so that if people had an emergency they could pull over quickly and be safe.

    Fully aware cars are more reliable than in past years, and we now have all sorts of expensive camera equipment available but there is still no substitute for a proper refuge area, which the police, ambulance and fire crews use as an emergency lane for access to any accident.

    Yes it may cause much disruption (short term) but another lane or two is really the only proper answer.

    Noise barriers should of course be put in place when any road is modified to substantially increase traffic when near to housing.

  2. lojolondon
    March 29, 2014

    John, I feel the tail is wagging the dog. This is similar to the situation with Heathrow. Some chancers buy a house for £200k less than a similar house in a neighbouring area because it is under the flight path, then they lobby for noise control and compensation. Likewise, a house near to a freeway will cost less than the same house just a couple of hundred yards further away.
    I think your kind nature is being abused in this situation, if people don’t like living near a freeway they must sell that house and move further not campaign to silence the freeway (or Heathrow, or Silverstone, or Santa Pod etc. for that matter!)

  3. David Reading
    May 13, 2014

    lojolondon – they’re called ‘Motorways’ in this country, not ‘Freeways’.

    I think you’re rather missing the point of the article and indeed the entire situation with regards to the ‘expansion’. There are people, such as myself, who currently live next to a motorway. We’ve been here a number of years and whilst we found the noise acceptable then, it is less so now. The reason for this is nothing to do with increasing audio sensitivity but rather more to do with the increase in traffic and the new road system which is now being enforced upon us through no fault of our own.

    If you can afford to live in idyllic, quiet, countryside then that’s great for you but spare a thought for those of us, unable to afford such, that have worsening standards of living to enable you to get around easier.

    We’re not lobbying for compensation – all we ask for is preventative measures to control the increase in noise that this expansion will entail.

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