Noise attenuation bund by motorway refused despite residents' support

A noise attenuation bund in a field by the M4 in Wiltshire was refused for its harmful impact on highway safety, residential amenity, heritage assets and waste management objectives, despite being supported by the majority of local residents.

The proposed L-shaped bund was 400 metres long, returning for 180 metres, 70 metres wide and around four or five metres in height and would occupy grazing land adjacent to the M4 motorway with the intention of relieving noise pollution for local residents. The inspector considered four main issues and held the proposal unacceptable on all grounds. The first related to highway safety and she found that in the absence of a mechanism to control the routing of construction traffic, there could be harm to the safety of road users and pedestrians in adjoining villages. She did not feel the issue could be solved by conditions as these would not be enforceable.

Secondly, the inspector held the size, number and frequency of construction lorries (one every 20 minutes) would cause noise and disturbance to local residents. Thirdly, she held that the nearby conservation area would be temporarily harmed by the appearance of what would amount to a landfill site and given there was no mechanism for controlling the time period of construction, she held this was significant. When looking at the public benefits of the proposal she held there to be a marginal improvement in noise attentuation overall, which did not outweigh the harm to the conservation area. Finally, she considered the proposal amounted to waste disposal rather than recovery due to the inert soils proposed for the bund which were being discarded from other development sites and this was contrary to local and national waste hierarchy objectives. She concluded the proposal did not represent sustainable development.

Inspector: Jennifer Vyse; Written Representations

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