Noise From Roads

This document is also available in pdf format (124k)

The Key Facts

Who we are

Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland. Our purpose is to help deliver the Scottish Government’s vision for transport, making a real difference for people and businesses using the national rail and road networks.

Our aim

Transport Scotland’s aim is to ensure road construction schemes are designed and constructed to minimise the impact of noise, using high standards of environmental mitigation, wherever reasonably practicable.

Noise from roads

Noise from the national road network arises from two sources: firstly from construction or maintenance operations, and secondly, noise arising from normal road traffic using the network.

Construction noise

Construction noise and vibration is temporary and is assessed differently to traffic noise. The noise levels generated by construction activities are regulated by guidelines and subject to local authority control. Advice is contained within British Standard BS 5228: 1997 Noise and vibration control on construction and open sites. Working hours and noise will be subject to planning requirements imposed by the environmental health department of the local authority.

Road traffic noise

The Design Manual for Road and Bridges (DMRB), used for designing roads in Scotland, generally requires that a noise assessment is undertaken where a change in road traffic flow of 25% or greater is predicted (this is equivalent to a change in noise of approximately 1 decibel (dB (A), a low and almost imperceptible level). Where Transport Scotland propose to construct new roads, the use of quieter road surfaces, earth mounds, acoustic fencing or other measures may be considered.

Our plan for the future

Transport Scotland is committed to understanding and controlling the environmental impact of our network and we recognise that noise from major roads is a concern.

We have worked closely with the rest of the Scottish Government to implement the requirements of the EU Environmental Noise Directive, and will continue to do so in the implementation of our Transportation Noise Action Plan for the next five years.

Further information — contacts

If you require further information please contact Transport Scotland on 0141 272 7100 or email

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) How can I find out more about the effects of a proposed road scheme on my home?

A1) Information is provided at various stages in the development of a scheme usually in the form of explanatory leaflets, exhibitions and maps. You may also obtain additional information by looking on our website at

Q2) When are noise assessments carried out?

A2) Transport Scotland may undertake noise assessments during the development and construction of road schemes, in accordance with the guidance given in the DMRB. Part of the scheme development process involves the identification of properties with the potential to be affected by road traffic noise. Further noise assessments may be carried out after the scheme is completed, to consider whether generated road noise is in line with the predicted design noise.

Q3) How is noise impact calculated?

A3) Noise at individual properties, or other noise sensitive locations, is calculated in accordance with the document Calculation of Road Traffic Noise, used widely to assess noise impacts of road traffic. This document can be purchased from The Stationery Office at or telephone 0121 236 9696.

Q4) How are noise impacts assessments considered in the Environmental Impact Assessment?

A4) Certain road schemes require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment and the subsequent publication of an Environmental Statement. Where it is estimated that noise at a property will increase, those properties affected are identified in the Environmental Statement.

Q5) How will I know if I have a right to insulation against traffic noise?

A5) Where a noise assessment under the Noise Insulation (Scotland) Regulations 1975 indicates that your property meets the qualifying criteria, you will be contacted by Transport Scotland or their agents.

Q6) What can I do if my home is not considered as a qualifying

A6) If you believe that your home should be eligible for noise insulation you can appeal to Transport Scotland for a review of your case.

Q7) Will Transport Scotland provide mitigation measures to reduce the noise impacts of the scheme on my home?

A7) Transport Scotland’s aim is to minimise any increase in noise so far as reasonably practicable. This may include some of the following measures:

  • altering the location of the route
  • low noise surfacing on the road  
  • noise barriers and fencing 
  • and, in some very limited cases, noise insulation installed in homes.

Q8) Am I entitled to any compensation if I sell my home because of actual or likely effects of construction?

A8) You may be eligible for compensation for ‘Injurious Affection’ under Part 1 of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973. This compensation may be payable to claimants from whom no land is taken. Compensation would be payable on the depreciation in a property’s market price that can be demonstrated to be attributed to one of seven physical factors resulting from the use of the road: noise; vibration; smell; fumes; smoke; artificial lighting; and discharge onto the land of solid and liquid substances.

Q9) What can I do if the noise levels near my home increase during the construction stage?

A9) Limitations on hours of site work and construction noise levels are determined by the environmental health department of the local authority. These limits are intended to minimise the impact to residents adjacent to the proposed scheme. If you consider that these limits are being exceeded or that noise is considered to be excessive, you should contact the Transport Scotland site supervision team. Noise insulation grants may be offered under exceptional circumstances for qualifying properties under the Noise Insulation (Scotland) Regulations 1975 for both construction and operational phases. If you believe this to be the case, you should contact Transport Scotland.

Q10) If I am eligible for insulation against traffic noise then what type of insulation will be offered?

A10) Eligible properties may be offered insulation works to qualifying windows such as secondary glazing with mechanical ventilation, or a grant towards such works, or a grant towards installation of thermal units (double glazing).

This document is also available on the Transport Scotland website:

Further copies of this document are available on request, in audio and large print formats and in community languages. Please contact or phone 0141 272 7100.

Published Date 9 Apr 2010 Type Mode of transport