We live under the M4 – traffic sends shudders through our homes but we find the noise soothing | The Sun

A FAMILY who live under the M4 motorway can feel their home shudder as heavy traffic passes overhead – but they love it.

Congestion noise, beeping horns and shaking windows would be enough to put most Brits off living in the terraced house beneath the Port Talbot stretch of the M4in South Wales.

Arthur and Gwyneth Howells bought the two-bed property when the roads were a lot quieter in 1969, and it cost them £2,500.

But the retired couple, who live there with son Jason, have adapted to the increasing flow of traffic over the years – and wouldn't have it any other way.

Retired school dinner lady Gwyneth, 73, told The Sun Online: "The roar of traffic and the gentle vibration it sends through the house feel like companions to us now.

"We find the noise really soothing, and we would all miss it if it stopped."

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This was proved to be the case when the world shut down as Covid-19 hit.

Arthur, 80, said: "During lockdown, you hardly hear a thing and it felt really weird. We all hated the silence."

When they went holidaying in a rural area of Wales, the struggle to sleep followed them.

"It was our first summer holiday as a family, and I remember how hard we found it getting to sleep at night because everything was so quiet," added Gwyneth.

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HGV lorry driver Jason is also oblivious to sounds of the motorway – in fact he adds to it when he drives past.

"I can't help it, I toot that horn every time I go past. It makes me smile", said the 33-year-old.

His mum added: "And I always hear it. As soon as I hear that lorry horn, I know it's time for me to get Jason's dinner ready and sure enough, a couple of minutes later, he walks through the door."

Despite living in a high pollution risk area due to congestion fumes, the family are still "fit as fiddles".


They explained they've never suffered any health problems as a result of living so close to the M4.

"They've reduced the speed limit to 50mph here on this stretch, so that has cut a lot of the pollution, but honestly we've never noticed it," said Gwyneth.

Another concern raised by some people is the possibility of concrete from the slab above falling down and causing injury.

Just last year a piece of the giant slab broke loose and hit a nearby resident outside their home.

Highway workers were forced to install a two meter fence beneath the flyover to protect pedestrians in the future.

But this doesn't bother Arthur or Gwyneth.

"No one would want that falling on their head, but in all the time we've been here, we've never seen any bits of concrete coming off it," added Arthur.


This comes as another family who reside under the M4 are not so happy with the area.

Joanna Care lives in the house she was brought up in alongside her husband Ritchie and their four-month old daughter Evelyn.

While mum Joanna is used to the hum of traffic, husband Ritchie isn't a fan.

"I grew up on a beach, where you'd have the outdoor space to play football or go surfing," he said.

"This is a far cry from what I'm used to. Even today, I can’t get used to the motorway in regards to the sounds.

"Four o’clock every morning, the lorries start doing their jaunt and then I wake up. Whether I go back to sleep or not is a different thing.

"I just can’t get used to the noise – whether the windows are double glazed or even triple glazed, it doesn’t matter.

"I’m just used to serenity. I didn’t realise I was so sensitive to noise until I started living here."

Another local family say they don't mind the controversial location.

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Gabrielle Gillings lives under the motorway with her two sons, six-year-old Lennox and 21-month-old Keane.

"I think I’m just kind of used to it after so long. For me, this is just the norm and I enjoy living here," said the mum-of-two.

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