Environmental Noise Monitoring
Noise is detailed by the United Kingdom Government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as ‘unwanted sound’, as such one person’s noise is another person’s sound”. For this reason noise is subjective and what may appear harmless low level noise to an operative on a construction site or in a factory, may be extremely aggravating to a local resident or adjacent offices. Further, that low level noise may possibly be causing the operatives long term damage to their own hearing without them realising.
Noise can be annoying and aggravating, interrupt sleep, stop conversation and, in extreme conditions, cause physical damage to those affected. Different times of the day will impact on both how the noise is measured and what constitutes a “ nuisance”. It would be unreasonable to expect industrial areas and construction sites to be as quiet as a library for twenty four hours a day; it would also be equally unreasonable for residents to be subjected to unwanted sound all through the night.
Most large construction companies spend a great deal of time, money and effort ensuring their operations do not impact on their neighbours and surroundings. Sometimes companies and organisations can be unaware that their works are having a negative local impact.
Larger companies are frequently judged by Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and it is important that they can show and verify that they undertook all the survey, monitoring and reduction methods available to them to reduce the impact of their presence on their neighbours.
Remote environmental noise monitoring equipment has now become portable and easily obtainable. However, to monitor environmental noise correctly you require the right equipment for the right application. Remote Datum frequently installs noise monitoring equipment in association with multiple point vibration equipment, especially when piling or similar works are being undertaken near residential or sensitive locations.
The Control of Pollution Act 1974 allows local authorities to impose requirements as to how construction work is to be carried out (e.g. in terms of days and hours of work, noise thresholds, etc).
Noise emitted from construction sites or from vehicles, equipment or machinery in the street can be deemed a statutory nuisance under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990(EPA) Part III.
Whereas compliance with a consent under Control of Pollution Act will be a defence to statutory nuisance proceedings brought by a local authority, an abatement notice on a complaint brought by a private individual may still be issued. It nevertheless remains a defence to show that the ‘best practicable means’ were used to prevent or to counteract the effects of the nuisance.
Remote Datum Ltd can supply equipment for long term measurement of Environmental Noise such as:-
- Road Traffic
- Rail Noise
- Transport Hubs
- Wind Farms
- Industrial Installations
If you wish further information or wish to discuss a particular issue or project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Planning Policy Guidance
PPG 24 (Planning Policy Guidance 24) is a guide for local authorities in England that aims to minimise the adverse impact of noise by providing information on use of planning powers. It outlines considerations that should be taken into account during planning applications for noise-sensitive developments, as well as any activities that would potentially generate noise.
Planning Policy Guidance 24 aims to provide advice to local councils on how the planning system can be used to reduce the detrimental impact of environmental noise. It aims to do so without placing unreasonable restrictions on development or adding unnecessary costs and administrative burdens.
These guidelines introduce and explain the idea of noise exposure categories for residential development and recommends appropriate levels for exposure to different sources of noise.
It also advises on the use of conditions to minimise the impact of noise.
Planning Policy Guidelines 24 (PPG24)
Road Traffic Noise
The level of noise created by traffic is measured and predicted using the Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CRTN) document.
The Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CRTN) is a reference document published by the Department of Transport in 1988. Its aim is to provide a central reference document and a standardised approach to noise level assessment. The CRTN provides information on monitoring road traffic noise, as well as the prediction of road traffic noise based on flow counts. Prediction of noise levels includes factors such as:
- Percentage of heavy vehicles
- Vehicle speed
- Road surface type
In addition to this it includes a complete series of noise prediction techniques.
It is important that the correct instrument is used for Road Traffic Noise monitoring and calculations.
Noisy neighbours, dogs incessantly barking and loud venues are but a few of the areas that can cause tempers to fray. Excessive noise from neighbours can be frustrating and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and worry. Frequently, the person(s) making the noise is unaware that they are causing a problem and therefore the problem can be ironed out and sorted in an amicable manner.
Unfortunately, where this is not the case a statutory notice may have to be served on the offending party requiring them to abate the nuisance. If such the notice is not complied with then legal action can follow. It is important in these circumstances that the nuisance noise levels have been correctly monitored and the data recorded for use as proof.
Both the European Union and the UK Government has implemented a host of regulations and directives aimed at quantifying, mapping and legislating for noise:-
Types of noise roughly fall into three categories – for example, occupational noise which is experienced at work, neighbour or neighbourhood noise caused by people in or around their homes and environmental noise (sometimes called ambient noise) which is generated by transport, industry and other external sources.
The reason noise is being measured depends very much on which government or local authority body is responsible. In general, and as you would expect, the Health and Safety Executive looks after occupational noise and has a number of helpful publications to assist in employers determining safe noise levels in the workplace:- http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg362.pdf
Local Authorities will tend to look after nuisance noise from neighbours and from industry, including construction projects. Local authorities will also frequently intervene on behalf of residents if they believe the noise is a statutory nuisance.