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New A12 noise barrier a first for the UK


The new noise barrier on the A12. Photo by Edmund Sumner

A new barrier intended to dramatically reduce the impact of traffic noise on passers-by, has been fitted on the A12, next to Bromley-by-Bow station.

The project, led by housing association, Poplar HARCA, and funded by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Transport for London (TfL), aims to enhance the area for people walking and cycling in the area.

Noise levels on the busy road, which sees more than 15 million vehicles moving along it every year, have been found to consistently exceed 78 decibels by The University of East London (UEL). This puts the A12 in the most severe category for noise pollution, according to the World Health Organisation and the Department for the Environment. 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “This innovative barrier should serve as a comfort to residents passing through the area who suffer from excessive noise emanating from the A12. We have listened to residents who have complained about the level of noise pollution and if the scheme is successful it could be rolled out elsewhere in Tower Hamlets.”

Local people surveyed and who took part in focus groups scored road noise as a ‘highly irritable source of noise’ in Bromley-by-Bow.

Fran Jefcoate, a local resident who took part in the consultation, said of the stretch of road: “You can’t have a conversation with the person next to you, let alone make a phone call because the traffic noise makes it impossible to hear. I hope the barrier makes it better for anyone who uses this stretch of pavement.”

The ‘Silk Metal’ noise resistant material from which the barrier is made, makes it’s the first of its kind in the UK. The installation’s unique design intends for it to also function as a public artwork. Led by architects Beep Studio, the design and construction team is a collaboration between Expedition Engineering, Cake Studio, Echo Barrier and Power and Line.

Posted on Tuesday 24th November 2020