Let’s tackle noisy car and motorbike exhausts once and for all

loud exhaust

Noise pollution from roads is a serious and under-reported environmental problem. The din created by cars and motorbike exhausts with excessively loud exhausts isn’t just illegal, it’s a blight on countless communities up and down the country. And yet very little action is taken to curb this anti-social behaviour.

Police can issue a modest £50 on-the-spot fine, but this kind of enforcement is patchy. In theory, a car can fail its MOT due to a noisy exhaust. However, in practice it’s often marked as an advisory. The problem is fuelled by a thriving market for so-called ‘pop bang’ exhausts, with little or no enforcement of regulations. Until now.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recently brought successful legal action a Kirklees firm called AET Motorsport for fitting an “unsuitable part to a vehicle which would make it illegal to be used on the road”.

Magistrates fined the garage in Kirklees £7,234 for fitting what it described as a “pop and bang remap software upgrade” as well as removing a catalytic converter.

Noise cameras

Research commissioned by the Department for Transport, found that a noise camera system could help tackle extremely noisy vehicles which breach legal noise limits. It could also help to catch those who rev car or motorcycles engines beyond legal limits, making life a misery for those who live close by.

pop bang exhaust

Noise pollution has a detrimental effect on our health and our general quality of life and yet there is no threshold limit for road traffic noise in the European Union.

Noise pollution and health

People who live in areas affected by high levels of road traffic noise may be more likely to suffer heart attacks than people in quieter areas, according to a study of 1,500 people in Stockholm.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute looked at people who had suffered a heart attack and once they had eliminated those with hearing impairments and those exposed to other sources of noise they found levels of traffic noise above 50 decibels increased the risk of heart attack by 40 per cent.

According to the World Health Organisation, 40 per cent of Europeans are regularly exposed to road traffic noise exceeding 55 decibels.

Ethical car breakdown cover

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover  and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.


  1. Philip Cooper


    In Paris they have excess noise seeking cameras that look like speed camera but equipped with a sound monitor not a Radar.
    Excess noise , the noise of moped’s or small motorcycles it takes a photo and sends off the details for prosecution.
    Noise pollution in city streets isn’t being tolerated anymore.

  2. Steve Connolly


    The selfish morons who like to make a lot of noise, will only stop when they get fined for being anti social.
    Please do it asap.

  3. Doug M


    I agree that we need to see something done about excessive exhaust noise, often worse from motorbikes.
    There is also a need to discourage the selfish drivers who inflict their brand of “music” on the world at large, with volume right up and windows right down. I don’t expect them to like my choice of music, and don’t see why I should have to put up with theirs.

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