New noise cameras aimed at detecting illegal, excessively noisy vehicles will be trialled by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The technology aims to measure the sound levels of passing vehicles to detect those that are breaking the law on noise limits, and could use automated number plate recognition to help enforce the law.
Research commissioned by the DfT, found that a noise camera system could help tackle extremely noisy vehicles which breach legal noise limits.
It could also help to catch those who rev car or motorcycles engines beyond legal limits, making life a misery for those who live close by, it said.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Noise pollution makes the lives of people in communities across Britain an absolute misery and has very serious health impacts. This is why I am determined to crack down on the nuisance drivers who blight our streets.
“New technology will help us lead the way in making our towns and cities quieter, and I look forward to seeing how these exciting new cameras could work.”
DfT insists that the trial is not intended to target law-abiding drivers, but those who are flouting laws around noise.
All vehicles must legally meet strict noise limits before they are allowed on the road. Once a vehicle is in service, exhausts and silencers must by law be maintained in good working order and not altered to increase noise.
Currently, enforcement is mainly reactive and relies on subjective judgement.
The trials of the new technology will determine whether the legal noise limit has been breached by taking into account the class and speed of the vehicle relative to the location of the noise camera.
The Government has commissioned a prototype noise camera to be tested at several locations over the next seven months. If the trials are successful, recommendations will be made to further develop the system across the UK.