Noise camera systems, similar to the devices that debuted in western Canada, are now undergoing testing in the UK.
Although we haven’t seen a write-up on the exact origin of the systems being examined in the UK right now, the first noise cameras we’ve seen were developed for use in western Canada, and it seems likely the British test units were derived from those. An Edmonton man developed the design after his sleeping baby was woken by a loud-piped motorcycle passing by; the city of Edmonton tested the tech years later, with poor results.
Edmonton’s test failed because the cameras were not set up to hand out tickets, despite their initial intention to be used as the audio equivalent of a speed camera. The camera was connected to a microphone, instead of a radar gun, and was configured to take photos of the licence plates of vehicles that exceeded noise limits. Tickets would then be automatically mailed out to the registered owners of those vehicles.
The trouble with Edmonton’s pilot project was that, the cameras couldn’t hand out tickets, due to questions about provincial regulations. Instead, they were configured to show the offenders’ decibel output, perhaps in a misguided attempt to shame them into cooperation. Whatever the intention, the result was that motorists were searching out the cameras and instead of meekly returning to stock pipes, were having competitions to see whose machine was the loudest.
The UK cameras are not configured to hand out tickets yet, but they also are not displaying noise levels of offending vehicles. Instead, Visordown says the cameras are posted with these words: “The purpose of this trial is to determine whether a system of this type is capable of detecting vehicles emitting excessive noise levels or being driven in a way which creates excessive noise. This noise camera is measuring traffic characteristics and noise levels for the trial.
No enforcement action is being taken as a direct result of this trial
Data collected from the noise camera is subject to controls on access and processing, in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation principles. No information about drivers or vehicles owned will be obtained.”
No doubt, though, we’ll see the cameras eventually appear as the British government’s newest form of revenue generation, as long as the tests prove satisfactory.