Noise and Planning:
There are ever increasing demands on consultation for planning and noise (and vibration) rate high on the list for reasons for refusal.
Our experience over the last 30+ years has seen the legislation and guidance move away from a number orientated planning decision (see PPG24 noise exposure categories) to one based on toxicology, relying on the concepts such as lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL), significant observed adverse effect level (SOAEL) and no observed effect level (NOEL). These categories, when applied to acoustics, are perhaps more ephemeral and obscure and with revisions to British Standards increasing the demands on the acoustician for more in depth detailed assessments of sound and environmental noise impact have led to more nuanced consultation with Local Authorities.
Planning for Retail, Commercial and Industry
The planning process focusses on the planned operation being the source of noise and usually requires a detailed assessment to BS4142: 2014 to identify and predict level, tonality, intermittency and impulsiveness contributions from the proposed operations. Nearby sensitive receivers (residential, domestic, schools, hospitals, care homes etc) must be taken into account, the prevailing ambient noise quantified and the noise impact assessed with noise mitigation measures identified to ensure the sensitive receivers are protected.
Planning for Residential Dwellings
The planning process focuses on ensuring a reasonable internal acoustic environment within the proposed residential dwellings as well as providing suitable external private amenity space and gardens. Guidance is often drawn from BS8233: 2014 for internal ambient noise levels in bedrooms and living areas and gardens and any nearby commercial and industrial sources are usually assessed using BS4142: 2014.
Planning for Air Source Heat Pumps
Now becoming a sustainable’ feature for heating and cooling homes the air source heat pumps are noise emitting plant that require careful, selection and positioning to minimise impact on neighbouring properties.
They are usually assessed using BS4142: 2014 and planning conditions focus and achieving a rating level below typical background noise (LA90,T) for the noise.
This can be done for transportation sources such as road, rail and aircraft and also to predict the noise impact from, internal and external, static and quasi static commercial noise sources such as Mechanical and electrical plant and vehicular delivery and loading operations. ‘Before’ and ‘After’ mitigation scenarios can be modelled and the efficacy discussed to ensure money is not wasted on ineffective strategies.
It is often used as a visual aid and discussion tool for Clients and Local Authorities and is increasingly becoming a standard feature of noise impact reporting.