RESIDENTS living near the M5 are up in arms about increased traffic noise after an extra lane was added in both directions, according to a councillor.

Cllr Margaret Rowley, who represents Bowbrook Ward on Wychavon District Council, said she has been inundated with reports of noise disturbance thanks to Highways England’s (HE) Smart Motorway Scheme.

The M5 comes close to residential streets in Droitwich and the nearby villages of Tibberton, Oddingley, Hadzor and Wychbold, with residents having been blighted by tyre noise for years.

Cllr Rowley said HE assured them the scheme, which included adding a low noise road surface, would solve the issue, but the extra lanes have cancelled any improvement out.

“HE needs to acknowledge that this has created a problem,” she said.

According to the councillor, the roads authority “claims that the noise reduction due to the resurfacing has been balanced by the increase in noise levels due to the four-lane running”.

“That is not the reduction in noise levels that we were promised.”

The refurbished section of motorway between J4a for Bromsgrove and J6 for Worcester, was re-opened last May.

It also includes new overhead signs and signals to give drivers more information, and variable speed limits to smooth traffic flow.

“Residents living close to the motorway tell me that the noise has actually increased since the speed limits have been lifted and four-lane running has been fully operational,” said Cllr Rowley.

She has called on all suffering residents to “raise their right to claim a grant for sound-proof insulation and ventilation for their homes” by next Wednesday (February 28).

Residents can write to Highways England, Major Projects Division, 5 St Philips Place, Birmingham B3 2PW.

Cllr Rowley said any letter should give details of the problems caused and ask that an offer of insulation or grant should be made in accordance with the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975.

The right of appeal only applies to properties within 300 metres of the M5 junction 4a – 6 Smart Motorway Scheme. The fourth lane has been created by widening the hard shoulder, while new technology monitors congestion levels and changes speed limits to suit.

HE was unavailable for comment.