Prunus Laurocerasus Rotundifolia is a name that just trips off the tongue, and it's a shame more parents don't name their children after it. It is one of the most popular evergreen hedging plants in Britain, and so it's aptly named Common Laurel, or Cherry Laurel (being in the same genus as the other stone fruit - cherries, plums, damsons, etc). Abroad, it is known as the "English Laurel" for good reason - no one plants it as much as we do.
That, of course, is because no one understands it like we do. Prunus laurocerasus is the best roadside hedging plant there is, and with our small island, and seemingly unlimited cars (I read the other day somewhere that car numbers had risen ten times in the last thirty years, but roads had only increased in length by 10%) we need good roadside hedging.
Cherry laurel (so called because of its cherry -like berries) has heavy, leathery leaves that nature designed to completely exclude light, so there would be no weed competition around a laurel bush. So a laurel hedge blocks the light of passing cars. Those same heavy leaves are also hard to move, and as sound travels by vibration, they are excellent dampeners of traffic noise.
Prunus laurocerasus has two other qualities. It is evergreen and so is every bit as effective in midwinter (when traffic noise and light pollution are at their worst) as it is in summer. And it grows quickly to considerable heights - there is a laurel hedge just outside Bristol providing shelter from the M5 that must be at least 20 feet in height.
So the next time you see a cherry laurel hedge by a busy road, be consoled by the thought that the noise you are is somewhat reduced on the other side.
Relax and watch your garden grow.