To receive and consider a report on a Petition regarding M25 Noise Pollution.
A report was presented to the Council arising from the Council’s Petition Scheme in relation to a petition of 605 signatures regarding M25 noise pollution.
The petition asked the Council to “coordinate with Mole Valley DC, Surrey CC, Crispin Blunt MP, Paul Beresford MP and Chris Grayling MP and [to] write to Highways England highlighting residents’ concerns about noise pollution from the M25, specifically referencing motorway resurfacing of the atypical concrete slabs installed between M25 junctions 8 and 9 and requesting additional man-made sound barriers and tree planting along this section of motorway to protect residents”.It also called “…on Reigate and Banstead [Borough] Council to consider how it can combat noise pollution from roads directly via planning policy or other powers under its control”.
In line with the Petition Scheme, details of the petition had been published on the Council’s website along with the e-signatories. The Petition Scheme provided for the Council to decide how to respond to the petition. This included the options of supporting the action requested, or not, or referring the matter to the Executive (or the Executive decision maker) for further consideration.
As provided for in the Petition Scheme the organiser of the petition, Mr G. Curry, introduced the petition. Councillor J. Essex spoke in support of the petition as did the Leader of the Council, Councillor M. Brunt. The following is a summary of the points made:
- The carriageway between junctions 8 to 11 was particularly prone to noise because it was constructed from concrete slaps rather than asphalt which was typically quieter.
- Concerns relating to increases in traffic.
- The advent of electric vehicles would not solve the problem, as at speeds over 35mph the noise issue was down to the sound of the wheels on the road rather than the engine.
- More than ten “Noise Important Areas” existed between junctions 8 and 9.
- The need to look at transport management issues more widely and not just road surfacing.
The Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor N. Bramall responded to the points made at the meeting and confirmed that Highways England was the government company responsible for the strategic road network, including motorways. The following points were highlighted in relation to the Junction 8 to Junction 9 stretch of the M25:
- To address noise issues, Highways England concentrated on locations where the greatest number of people were exposed to the highest noise levels. As a result, a number of properties along this stretch of the motorway had been selected for noise insulation.
- Repairs to joints on concrete sections of the clockwise carriageway had recently been completed.
- There were no plans to resurface the carriageway although Highways England had been trialling new techniques to improve concrete roads elsewhere in the south east.
- Highways England had identified that there was limited room for further tree planting within the highway boundary.
A variety of other matters, in relation to noise and air pollution and climate change, were also considered. In response to questions about noise, it was recognised planning policy was used to mitigate the impact of noise from other sources while the Council used environmental health powers to investigate noise complaints. However, it was confirmed that the Council had no powers in relation to road noise.
Councillor N. Bramhall moved and Councillor R. Ashford seconded a Motion and it was
(i) The first part of the petition request be supported, and that the Leader of the Council be asked to write to Highways England on the issue of M25 Noise Pollution, and in doing so engages with Mole Valley District Council, Surrey County Council, and local MPs.
(ii) The Leader of the Council be asked to forward the petition to the Chairman of the Reigate and Banstead Local Committee for its consideration.
(iii) That – in relation to the second part of the petition – it be noted that the Council’s powers in combating noise pollution from roads was limited to engaging with the statutory highway authorities. That where there was evidence of new or increased resident disturbance from local roads this would be drawn to the attention of Surrey County Council, including via the Reigate and Banstead Local Committee.