M40 residents want noise pollution tackled

People living close to the M40 in Oxfordshire have called for action to reduce noise levels on the motorway.

Residents in Lewknor and Wheatley claim the sound can be so loud they have to shout to talk to someone in their own back gardens.

The Safer and Quieter M40 Group are meeting later to discuss what to do.

The Highways Agency said two-thirds of the stretch already has a low noise road surface but it will only resurface areas that are worn or damaged.

It admitted that sections of the M40 were among the "worst affected areas" in the country.

When those stretches get resurfaced its policy is to use low noise material.

'Dreadful noise'

Dr Ken Edwards, chairman of the Safer and Quieter M40 Group, said: "The problem is it's continuous.

"It's through the day, through the evening and through the night. That's what gets people down.

"We did a survey of 1,000 homes right along the stretch, from Loudwater through to Wheatley, and the responses we got were heart-rending.

"They included people turning up their televisions and living with closed windows throughout the summer nights to try to get rid of this dreadful noise.

"Particularly [there were responses from] people who could not go out and gain pleasure from gardens in what is otherwise a very beautiful area."

In a statement, the Highways Agency said: "We recognise that noise from major roads is a concern.

"We have a standing policy that whenever a road surface has worn out, it will be replaced with a low noise surface.

"Since 2008 we have been working closely with Defra to map noise levels along virtually our entire network, and to develop action plans for the worst affected areas across the country - as several sections along the M40 are.

"More than two thirds of the M40 between junctions 3 and 8 now has a low noise road surface, and we will continue to install low noise surfacing when the existing road surface requires replacement."

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