A lobby group is calling for noise from a busy road to be lowered after figures show large amounts of income going to the company maintaining it.
The issue of excessive noise from the A419/417 dual carriageway between Gloucester and Swindon has been a running sore for residents since it was first built in 1998. Various attempts to reduce the sound have been made over the years without success.
Since 2012, a group of residents and councillors have been working to reduce noise pollution from the road. Calling themselves A419NAG (Noise Action Group) they come from Bagendon, Baunton, Latton, Down Ampney, Driffield, Cirencester and Cerney Wick.
Now, they have released figures showing that a large amount of money has gone to Road Management Services (Gloucester) Ltd, the company which maintains the 32 mile highway.
Figures obtained by the group from the Highways Agency show that Road Management Services received a total of £285 million from the Government from 1996 to 2013. This was part of the contract agreed when the road was built and is based on a ‘shadow toll’ for every vehicle using the road. It is estimated that the company will receive at least another £200 million until the agreement ends in 2026.
Road Management Services have confirmed that they spend between £1 and £1.5 million a year on maintaining the road, excluding management costs.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (CDC, Churn Valley) is chairman of A419 NAG and believes the figures show that cash is available to reduce the noise, “Those who live around Cirencester suffer just as much from excessive and irritating noise from the road as those around the Water Park area and north Wiltshire. People have been raising the issue again and we are calling for something fundamental to be done about this.”
“This is about righting a wrong – since the completion of the dual carriageway, a large amount of cash has been given out by the Government and very little spent in comparison. Surely a small part of this eye popping £285 million can be spent on reducing the noise? It is a reasonable thing to ask.”
Cllr Hodgkinson added, “We believe that the Highways Agency in conjunction with Road Management Services should use some of the cash and address this issue once and for all. Measures can be taken to bring the noise levels down.”
The group is currently producing a report, detailing the responses of 500 residents who have completed a survey on the impacts of noise pollution. They aim to publish this in the early summer.