Noise & Planning: Agent of Change

Noise and Planning: What the Policy Framework means

In the last of our three-part series on noise and planning written by LABC Acoustics, we’re taking a look at policy framework changes and how this impacts residential schemes.

Part one of our series provides an introduction to Noise and Planning.

Part two of our series describes mitigation methods in Noise and Planning.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has  been reviewed, reissued and came into force on 24th July 2018. The new document had implications for the ‘agent of change’ with greater emphasis placed on the protection to music venues. Residential developments bring potential noise sensitive receivers to a source, putting music venues at risk of closure.

The NPPF paragraph 170 states:

“e) preventing new and existing development from contributing to, being put at unacceptable risk from, or being adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution or land instability. Development should, wherever possible, help to improve local environmental conditions such as air and water quality, taking into account relevant information such as river basin management plans;”

The NPPF paragraph 180 states:

Planning policies and decisions should also ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment, as well as the potential sensitivity of the site or the wider area to impacts that could arise from the development. In doing so they should:

  1. a) mitigate and reduce to a minimum potential adverse impacts resulting from noise from new development – and avoid noise giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and the quality of life;
  2. b) identify and protect tranquil areas which have remained relatively undisturbed by noise and are prized for their recreational and amenity value for this reason”

The NPPF paragraph 182 states:

Planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities (such as places of worship, pubs, music venues and sports clubs). Existing businesses and facilities should not have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of development permitted after they were established. Where the operation of an existing business or community facility could have a significant adverse effect on new development (including changes of use) in its vicinity, the applicant (or ‘agent of change’) should be required to provide suitable mitigation before the development has been completed.”

Extrapolation of this principle to other noise producing sources e.g. industrial or commercial, has an impact on the planning requirements for new residential schemes and Local Authorities have to consider noise impact and the burden of mitigation differently.

In the case of new residential developments, the emphasis has changed in that the polluter (emitter of noise) will not need to pay.

1: Polluter pays?....not necessarily in the case of noise!

Noise mitigation by residential developers may have to include the usual measures:

  • Orientation of sensitive facades away from existing noise emitters
  • Noise screening and Barriers
  • Façade protection including acoustic glazing, ventilation and building fabric design
  • Potentially offering the noise emitter funding to attenuate the noise at source! This could include:
    1. Localised screening & acoustic enclosures on the emitters site
    2. Replacing old equipment for new: M&E equipment, air condition units, HVAC plant etc.
    3. Upgrading existing commercial/industrial building components e.g. single skinned factory buildings upgraded to ensure factory noise is contained within the facility.

Remember, you can read part one series providing an introduction to Noise and Planning here.

Or part two on mitigation methods in Noise and Planning here.

Author bio

This is a guest blog by LABC Acoustics who can specify and assess the impact of all noise mitigation solutions in order to achieve planning requirements and minimise the cost of development. We are here to help you with all planning related noise issues and speed up the route to compliance. Call us on 0247 6545 397.


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.


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