Noise and Planning: An Introduction

This is the first in a three-part series on noise and planning written by LABC Acoustics which will update you on the requirements, and explain the need for and the design of acoustic treatment.

Before a brick is laid, the chances are, the planning process may have delayed, or frustrated, your attempts to build your development.

The Government is keen to see more residential property being built but the time taken to bring existing development land forward for housing throttles back the process and costs the developer a significant sum in interest payments, where funding has been secured on land purchase.

Assessment of noise impact is a key planning requirement. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Development land being scarce, an increasing number of sites are being developed closer to transportation sources such as roads or rail or in urban areas that feature commercial industrial noise.
  2. Planning officers are becoming more risk averse, putting the burden of proof on the developer by way of condition, even on simple sites.

A standard planning condition will say:

Noise Assessment - Prior to the commencement of works hereby approved, a noise assessment (from a qualified noise consultant) shall be submitted in writing to the Local Planning Authority detailing;

  1. the level of attenuation that is created by the existing structure of the building; and
  2. a scheme detailing the noise levels that residents are likely to be exposed to from the neighbouring commercial premises (e.g.: existing pubs and clubs), and transportation e.g. road and rail sources; and
  3. a scheme designed to protect these dwellings from any noise transference and identification of all works necessary to protect residents from the noise.

The levels required to be met in habitable rooms of the proposed accommodation are those set in BS 8233(2014).

The development shall only commence once the noise assessment and mitigation scheme required by this condition has been agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority and shall be undertaken in accordance with the scheme of mitigation which shall be fully implemented prior to the uses hereby approved being brought into use.

Reason; To ensure the amenity of the residents, in accordance with the guidance set out within Core Strategy DC1.

The end result is that the developer needs to know where they can obtain expert advice fast to minimise delay.

The primary acoustic process to deal with this would be:

  • 24-hour noise survey of all sources
  • Analysis of data to determine noise impact on proposed development
  • Specification of mitigation (if required)

The noise mitigation may include:

  • Advice on proposed layout, distance and orientation of scheme with respect to sources
  • Physical protection, fences, bunds, barriers to protect private amenity space and reduce façade mitigation requirements
  • Façade mitigation: including glazing specification, acoustic ventilation and building envelope design

The second part of our series looks at Noise and Planning mitigation.

Author bio

This is a guest blog by LABC Acoustics who hold a comprehensive database of acoustic planning requirements from around the UK and have significant experience in dealing with both planning officers and the people that advise them from Local Authority Environmental Health or Pollution Control departments.

We are here to help you speed up the route to compliance and minimise the cost of development. Call us on 02476 545 397 to discuss further.


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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