Newark roadside residents among 40,000 benefitting from quieter roads

People living near the busy A1 in Nottinghamshire are among 40,000 roadside residents getting used to a quieter life thanks to a major noise reduction initiative.

Highways England has pledged to reduce noise levels for people living in over 1,000 areas close to motorways and major A roads by spring 2020 by installing noise barriers, providing free double glazing and laying new quieter road surfaces.

A 600-metre-long noise barrier close to the village of North Muskham, near Newark, is the latest structure to be installed as part of the scheme. The three-metre-high barrier has been adopted by the local community after villagers decided to plant 150 shrubs in front of it.

North Muskham Parish Council Chair, Ian Harrison said:

“The residents in North Muskham have been pressing for this for some years. The completion provides a real difference to the volume of A1 traffic noise experienced especially by nearby residents.

“Some residents also requested that foliage be replanted to provide better aesthetic views and an environment for birds and other wildlife so the parish council made the request and we are grateful for the positive response.”

Highways England has a £39 million special fund to reduce noise levels for people living close to motorways and major A roads, which includes installing noise barriers in areas where they are likely to have a significant benefit for local communities.

The organisation has also installed free double glazing at more than 600 homes, and laid quieter surfacing on over 6,000 miles of lanes on motorways and major A roads since 2015 – equivalent to resurfacing the entire M6 three times over.

Quieter surfacing is now installed as standard wherever possible on the roads managed by Highways England. The smoother and thinner top layer can help make roads significantly quieter than traditional road surfaces.

Ian Holmes, Principal Noise Advisor at Highways England, said:

“Around four million drivers travel on our roads every day but they impact many millions more – whether that’s businesses relying on long-distance deliveries or families in opposite ends of the country being able to get together for special occasions.

“Our roads also have an impact on the people who live near them and I’m pleased we’ve been able to reduce traffic noise levels for over 40,000 roadside residents since 2015 as part of our noise reduction schemes.

“It’s great to see that the new noise barrier we’ve installed in North Muskham in Nottinghamshire is proving popular with residents, and I’m sure the new shrubs they’ve planted will help make it pretty as well as practical.”

Last year Highways England won the ‘Silent Approach’ category at the Noise Abatement Society’s annual awards ceremony in London for its work to reduce noise levels for over 40,000 roadside residents since 2015.

The awards recognise organisations which are judged to have been outstanding in their efforts to both reduce the impact of noise and seek to pioneer practical and innovative solutions.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

New year upgrade for Manchester motorway link

One of Manchester’s key motorway link roads is in line for a new year upgrade to make journeys smoother and safer for the 90,000 drivers who use it every day.

Highways England is improving a two-mile stretch of the M56, known as the Sharston Link, between junction 3 of the M60 at Cheadle and junction 3a of the M56 at Wythenshawe.

The five-week project, which is due to start on Wednesday 9 January, includes resurfacing the entire route, repairing sections of the carriageway, replacing road markings, and installing new reflective road studs and traffic sensors. Repair work will also be carried out on a bridge which carries the motorway over a railway line.

Most of the work will take place overnight to keep disruption to the minimum, with diversions in place when sections of the motorway need to be closed.

Two weekend closures will also be needed to carry out structural repairs to the motorway. Highways England has scheduled the closures to take place on two of the quietest weekends of the year for motorway traffic, when there are no home matches for Manchester United or Manchester City.


Rob Williams, project manager at Highways England, said:

“The upgrade we’re planning for the M56 will result in much smoother and safer journeys for the rest of 2019 and beyond.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimise disruption but will need to close parts of the motorway during two weekends for major road reconstruction work.

“We’ve chosen two of the quietest weekends of the year to carry out the work but are still advising drivers to allow extra time for their journeys, especially if they’re heading to Manchester Airport for a winter getaway.”

The first weekend closure will take place on the eastbound carriageway between 9pm on Friday 11 January and 5am on Monday 14 January. A second closure is being planned on the westbound carriageway during the last weekend in January but this will be postponed if next week’s FA Cup draw results in a home match being played by Manchester City or Manchester United during that weekend.

The diversion route for the weekend closures will take drivers along the M60 to turn around at junction 5 as well as on the A5103 Princess Parkway.

For more articles like this, please visit Highways Industry News website.

Sustainable drainage regulations come into force in Wales

Yorkshire Water invests almost £8m in two wastewater treatment works

First year of drone programme delivers £750k efficiency savings for Severn Trent

In the first year of use since Severn Trent made the strategic decision to invest in the use of drone technology, the water company’s fleet of drones are generating huge savings in time and through improved efficiencies, as well as significant health and safety benefits.

The drone industry expanding at an exponential rate as sectors start to unlock the potential that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) offer. The utilities industry in particular has embraced the drone revolution – partnering with Commercial Drone Experts COPTRZ has seen Severn Trent make savings of over £750,000 in the first year alone.

In their second year, they are expecting to double this figure, with more savings beyond that. Other utility companies have found similar savings, and this is expected to grow as the technology develops.

By using their UAV drone fleet to carry out the unmanned inspection work, Seven Trent has removed the need for scaffolding, enabling them to save time and increase safety for their staff who no longer need undertake physical inspections.

Duncan Turner, Severn Trent’s Drone Team Lead said:

“It’s been an incredibly exciting time to be involved with UAV’s at Severn Trent. It feels like we are at the forefront of innovation which is unlocking new ways of working within the business using this cutting edge robotics technology. With our customers at the heart of what we do we can pass on the saving making sure our customers’ bills remain low and are helping to keep our water Wonderful on Tap.”

COPTRZ was formed in 2016 and provides specialist services to the commercial UAV market to help businesses to access the benefits of drone technology. COPTRZ are working with some of the largest utilities companies in the UK, including Severn Trent and Thames Water.

Steve Coulson, Founder and Managing Director at COPTRZ, commented:

“It’s great to see more companies seeing the benefit that drone technology can have for them and their business. Not only do they save money, but they also save time and improve safety. This example is only one of many, and I’m sure in the future there will be a huge number of companies that decide to make the small immediate investment, to unlock the huge savings potential moving forward.”£750k-efficiency-savings-for-severn-trent

Yorkshire Water partnership starts project to plant 1 million trees

December saw the planting of over 14,000 trees at Ogden Water marking the start of a partnership that will see one million trees planted on land owned by Yorkshire Water and leased by the Woodland Trust to help expand the White Rose Forest as part of the new Northern Forest project.

Planting will be carried out by The Forest of Bradford and the Woodland Trust. A mixture of native trees and shrubs including oak, beech and silver birch will be planted at the site to enhance the biodiversity of the site whilst protecting its archaeology and retaining public access.

Following backing from the Prime Minister, Theresa May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove earlier this year, over the next 25 years the Northern Forest will see the planting of more than 50 million trees from Liverpool to Hull, the first of its kind for more than a quarter of a century.

Spanning more than 120 miles between the cities of Hull, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, the proposed Northern Forest will help boost habitats for woodland birds and bats and protect iconic species such as the red squirrel – as well as providing a tranquil space to be enjoyed by millions of people living in the area.

Simon Mageean, Northern Forest Programme Director, Woodland Trust said:

“England is losing tree cover. We need to make sure we are protecting our most important habitats such as Ancient Woodland as well as investing in new ways to increase tree planting and expand woodland cover in the right places. A new Northern Forest will strengthen and accelerate the benefits of community forestry, support landscape scale working for nature, deliver a wide range of benefits, including helping to reduce flood risk, and adapt some of the UK’s major towns and cities to projected climate change. The North of England is perfectly suited to reap the benefits of a project on this scale.”

Guy Thompson Partnership Manager White Rose Forest said:

“The support of the Woodland Trust and Yorkshire Water has given our ambitions to increase tree cover by a third by 2036 a real boost. Our partners the Forest of Bradford working closely with Calderdale Council will ensure that the scheme gets delivered and has the support of the local community. “

With a population in excess of 13m that is expected to rise by 9% over the next 20 years and with woodland cover at just 7.6%, below the UK average of 13%, and far below the EU average of 38%, the North of England is ripe to reap the benefits of such a project.

Yorkshire Water Catchment and Recreation Manager, Geoff Lomas, said:

“We made a commitment in January to plant one million trees in the county over the next 10 years to help reduce flood risk, capture carbon and boost woodland wildlife opportunities. I am thrilled to see trees being planted at Ogden as part of our commitment to tree planting within the new Northern Forest.”

The Northern Forest will both accelerate the creation of new woodland and support sustainable management of existing woods right across the area. Many more trees, woods and forests will deliver a better environment for all by: improving air quality in our towns and cities; mitigating flood risk in high risk catchments; supporting the rural economy though tourism, recreation and timber production; connecting people with nature; and helping to deliver improvements to health and wellbeing through welcoming and accessible local green spaces.

Describing the launch as a huge milestone for Calderdale, Councillor Barry Collins said the ambitious project and would have far-reaching benefits for future generations to come.

“With the Calder Valley being a flood prone catchment, we truly value this programme of work not only for its benefits for ecology, biodiversity and air quality but also as a complementary measure to support traditional engineered flood defences.” he added.