Noisy cars could fail their MOT, minister warns

Drivers who modify their cars so they make more noise can expect them to fail MOTs, transport minister Richard Holden has warned.

Silencers are being tampered with to boost the roar of engines – leading to a stern warning from the North West Durham MP.

He said: “A vehicle should fail the MOT if the silencer has been altered to increase noise above the level expected from a standard system.”

It comes as the Government considers rolling out so-called “noise cameras” to catch offenders, with results of a testing scheme due to be released soon.

Excessively loud vehicles are a “nightmare”, causing communities “distress”, campaigners say.

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In the meantime, Mr Holden said police and local authorities should be “using their existing powers to tackle excessively noisy and illegally-modified vehicles”.

He added: “The annual MOT test requires an inspection of the exhaust’s state of repair and the tester uses their experience to make a subjective assessment of noise.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “While we are increasingly concerned about the exhaust emissions we breathe, we’ve perhaps lost sight of another environmental pollutant: noise.

“Until the day the electric revolution consigns the roar of the internal combustion engine to history, what we need is a respite from the noise pollution blaring at us, not modifications to make it worse.”

Gloria Elliott, chief executive of the Noise Abatement Society, raised the concern that “legal exhausts can be readily swapped for modified versions post-inspection”.

She added: “It’s important those affected contact their local council and police, letting them know about illegal noisy vehicles in their area.”

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