FARNBOROUGH residents’ hopes for a quiet life have been dashed after the Highways Agency confirmed work on the M3 noise barriers will not be completed.
It is a bitter blow to the residents and councillors who have campaigned for years for action to be taken to reduce the level of noise from the road and goes against the promises made by former transport ministers.
Work to build noise barriers between junctions 4 and 4a was to cost £5million — but around £2.5m was taken away for schemes the government said were of a higher priority.
In a letter to MP Gerald Howarth last week, the agency admitted there are no plans to finish the barriers in the foreseeable future.
Brecon Close resident,Tom Farrington, whose garden is just 40ft away from the motorway, expressed his anger.
“I think it is absolutely disgraceful, it’s disgusting.
“These people don’t live in these circumstances.
“They say they’re going to do something about it and then they don’t.
“What chance have I got? What can I do? I am willing to do anything anyone tells me if it will make a difference.”
He added: “When I cross over to the other side and get behind the barriers the noise is cut by about 50%. When I get back over to this side it’s terrible.
“There’s nothing I can do but sit here and put up with the noise and suffer the consequences.”
Resident and Rushmoor councillor Alan Ferrier is a long-term campaigner for the noise barriers.
He said on Monday: “It is a complete let down once again by this government.
“We have had all the promises under the sun about what they were going to do, and all they’ve done is part of one side and made a complete mess of the other side.
“The fence is not of the same quality, it is not high enough so the sound just goes over the top.
“They’ve done nothing but aggravate the problems for residents there.”
He added: “All we can do is keep pushing for something to be done about it.
“We have been looking at different road surfaces because there are a number available now which reduce the level of noise.
“That might be a quicker route than waiting to get a fence because when the road comes up for repair, a new road surface could be an option. And with the amount of traffic using the road that could be within a couple of years.”
Mr Howarth vowed to continue the fight.
He said: “This confirms what most of us told an All Party delegation from Rushmoor Borough Council last year.
“Having undertaken part of the planned programme of erecting noise barriers, the Department of Transport has run out of funds.
“This will come as extremely disappointing news to those who are still affected, but I can assure them that together with Rushmoor Borough Council, I will be continuing to press the Department of Transport.”
Campaigners had been battling for ten years prior to the Highways Agency survey of the nation’s roads.
As a result of that survey the Agency said the acoustic barriers would be built between junctions 4 and 4a by April 2001.
Construction problems delayed the project before concerns were raised over funding last year resulting in a meeting with transport minister John Spellar in a bid to gain a firm commitment to the work.
Councillors were informed in spring last year that the funding had been taken back.