Supercars could soon face prosecution in parts of London as local councils move to ban excessive noise.
Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council has this week launched a consultation to introduce new measures to tackle what it calls “the problem of supercars” in and around the Knightsbridge area.
Known locally as a hotspot for supercar traffic, residents are complaining about excessive noise levels and anti-social behaviour. As part of its consultation, the council says it will be looking to address “the issue of high-performance cars speeding in the streets, drivers revving engines and vehicles causing obstructions.”
To tackle the problem, the council is looking to introduce a Public Space Protection Order for the area, which would allow restrictions to be imposed and drivers to be prosecuted for breaking them. Fixed penalty notices of up to £100 could be handed down to drivers.
Under the new rules, drivers could be prosecuted for revving their engines, speeding, demonstrating “sudden or rapid acceleration,” driving in convoy, racing, leaving the engine turned on in a stationary vehicle, performing stuns, sounding horns (when deemed to be causing a public nuisance), playing loud music, using threatening or intimidating behaviour or causing an obstruction.
Speaking to Autocar, the head of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council Nick Paget-Brown said: "It will need to be enforced jointly by the Police and by the Council’s Noise Nuisance Department. We want to send a clear message to these drivers that we would prefer them not to come into the area with their supercars."
If approved, the Public Space Protection Order would remain in place for three years, but could be extended further. The order can be imposed under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act introduced in the UK last year.
Councillor Tim Ahern, Cabinet Member for Environment, Environmental Health and Leisure, said: “I know there has been a lot of coverage of expensive cars racing around Knightsbridge and also parking up and revving their engines. We want to take steps to discourage these drivers from their antisocial behaviour.”
Local resident and councillor Quentin Marshall told The Sunday Telegraph: “The noise goes on all day but it is worse in the evenings and at night. It used to be limited to the summer, but now it is becoming pretty much all year round. We are just trying to stop these people who are abusing the rules and using their cars to make a very loud noise.”
Writing in The Guardian, Paget-Brown said: “We’re not killjoys. I know the joy of taking my wheels for a ride on a summer’s evening – but my Honda Jazz and Elgar CD are barely audible even at the kerbside.
“McLarens, Ferraris, Bugattis and Lamborghinis are a very different story.
“Over the past few years, Knightsbridge has become a magnet for a number of young men, mostly from the Middle East, who drive supercars. It’s a sort of competitive peacocking really and routes and behaviours have quickly evolved – including speeding, causing obstruction and, worst of all, engine revving.”
Paget-Brown later clarified that the make of the car was less important than the noise it was capable of generating: "It’s not the make of the car, it’s the level of noise it generates," he said. "The message needs to be that if you’ve got a car that makes a loud noise and that part of the attraction of your car is in revving the engine, then don’t bring it into this area of London.