Launch of ProPG – Planning & Noise
A new document entitled ‘ProPG – Planning & Noise’ has just been launched by the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC), the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).
The document aims to fill technical gaps in current guidance relating to noise affecting new residential development and to help facilitate more efficient and consistent decision-making in the planning process. To this end, the document provides advice on good acoustic design and helps to clarify some of the ambiguity in existing noise-related planning guidance and standards.
A copy of the document can be found here: http://ioa.org.uk/publications/propg
Strictly speaking, the document is just a guide, so there is no requirement to comply with it. However, we expect that compliance will carry significant weight with Local Authorities when considering new planning applications or in the event of conflicting opinions.
The main emphasis of the document is that acoustics should be considered earlier in the design process to ensure that opportunities for better acoustic design are identified and realised and minimise reliance on technical, remedial measures and mitigation later on. However, this is not a new concept – acousticians have been saying it for years!
There is some guidance in the document on key issues that we are pleased to see, as they support our existing company position and will help us when discussing and agreeing on criteria with Local Authorities. These include:
- Clarification that strict noise limits should not be applied to balconies and other smaller amenity areas.
- Clarification that it is acceptable for residents to rely on open windows for ‘purge’ ventilation in areas with high prevailing noise levels.
However, unfortunately, the document dodges a few of the other key issues where disagreement often occurs:
- The assessment of noise from industrial and commercial uses affecting new residential development (e.g. when a new residential development is to be sited near an existing industrial or commercial use).
- How to deal with the conflict between noise, ventilation and thermal comfort in residential developments that are expected to overheat regularly.
For these issues, the current situation, where different Local Authorities often hold very different views, is likely to remain and therefore early consultation is normally recommended.
If you would like to discuss the ProPG and how this may affect your project, please don’t hesitate to contact me – Chris McNeillie 01234 834872 or firstname.lastname@example.org