Transport and vehicle noise

Noise from road, rail and air traffic is regulated under the Environmental Noise Directive (END) which is implemented in England through the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006.

The END requires the exposure to transport noise to be determined through noise mapping and the adoption of action plans, based upon noise mapping results. These are designed to manage noise issues and effects, including noise reduction if necessary. You can look at the maps and find out more information on the Noise Mapping England.

An action plan for Manchester has been formally adopted, covering noise from roads, railways and aviation. The plan sets out how noise from these sources will be managed in the context of Government policy on sustainable development. This aims to promote good health and good quality of life.

The noise maps identify the areas that require investigation by the ‘noise making’ authority to identify what measures, if any, might be taken in line with the above policy. This is the Highways Agency for motorways and the local highways authority of the council for all other roads in the borough. Rail noise is covered by various bodies having different roles and responsibilities.

Manchester Airport is the main source of noise from air traffic within the borough. The Airport has committed to limiting and reducing where possible, the number of people affected by noise as a result of the Airport’s operation and development. You can download the Airport’s Environment Plan and latest Noise Management Report to find out more information.

The Land Compensation Act 1973 allowed regulations to be made to provide compensation for dwellings affected by increased noise from any new or altered road or railway. These are the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975, as amended 1988; and the Noise Insulation (Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems) Regulations 1996. If certain criteria are met, the highway or the promoter of the railway scheme must offer secondary glazing and alternative ventilation for habitable rooms of dwellings so affected.

The Metrolink network is undergoing expansion in the borough including a tram depot in Old Trafford and new lines to Chorlton, Didsbury and the Airport. Acoustic barriers have been erected in certain areas to ensure tram noise is kept within limits that have been agreed with the council. The contractors and TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) work with the service to ensure construction impacts are minimised. You can find out more at the Future Metrolink website.

Noise from unattended vehicles on the highway (e.g. from vehicle alarms) can be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) regulations 1986 also require that vehicle theft alarms must be fitted with a five minute cut-out device.