London crackdown on noisy supercars

It’s summer, apparently, and London is filling up with supercars.

Specifically, Kensington and Chelsea are filling up with supercars, many of them brought over from the Middle East by their owners who come to London to get away from the desert heat and shop in Harrods. And, if the locals are to be believed, cause a nuisance.

There’s some sort of complaint every year. Previously, there have been issues with the amount of parking fines that go unpaid (it’s pretty much impossible to trace the owner of a car registered in Saudi Arabia). This year, though, the issue is noise.

Supercars are inherently loud; many of the cars brought over are modified and therefore even louder. Doubtless encouraged by the millions of cameras pointed in their direction, the drivers are often minded to rev their engines up and stand on the throttle every time they pull away.

Residents want action taken and Kensington and Chelsea borough council is consulting on how best to do so, saying the supercars have “a detrimental effect to the local community’s way of life.”

Should the proposed measures be put in place, it will become a criminal offence for drivers to rev engines, play loud music, rapidly accelerate, drive in convoy, beep the horn or leave the engine running while stationary.

Now, while I’m sure such laws would make the locals feel happier, they would be largely redundant as most of those offences are already covered by other laws. Revving engines excessively and playing loud music come under disturbing the peace; beeping the horn for any reason other than to make your presence known to other drivers is an offence in itself, as it running the engine while stationary for more than five minutes. There isn’t a speed limit higher than 40mph in Kensington or Chelsea, a speed any supercar will breach at about 3,000rpm even in first gear, so ‘rapidly accelerating’ becomes a speeding offence. And banning driving in convoy is just stupid, because how would prove that they are?

Then there’s the issue of enforcement and prosecution. It will take bobbies on the beat to spot these offences (a rarity even in London). Any foreigners fined or prosecuted probably won’t pay or turn up to court. And they will be impossible to find as they will simply switch hotel and credit card, or else just leave.

Not that I don’t have sympathy for the residents of Kensington and Chelsea. I just think that if there is a solution to the problem, this isn’t it.

By Only Motors

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