Professional Practice Guidance (ProPG) – Planning and Noise: New Residential

Ever since PPG 24 Planning and Noise was repealed in 2012 with the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), there has been no objective policy guidance provided by the English government on noise aspects of new residential planning applications.  Noise is still clearly a material issue to be considered in planning, as highlighted by the requirements of paragraph 123 of the NPPF. However, no objective policy guidance on assessing potential noise impact at residential developments is provided in the NPPF or subsequent policy documents.

Guidance on acceptable noise levels within residential properties is provided within British Standard 8233:2014 – Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings. This document is, however, technical guidance dealing with resultant noise levels rather than guidance on policy for dealing with proposed residential developments on sites exposed to noise. The concern within the noise assessment community has been that without central guidance, local authorities are likely to develop different policy guidance with different methodologies creating increased regulatory costs and variable developer costs.

In an attempt to provide guidance on a consistent approach to considering noise aspects within the planning system, a Working Group was set up by the Institute of Acoustics, Association of Noise Consultants and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. This draft document on proposed residential development and existing transport noise sources is the first document produced by the Working Group. The draft document is available at:

http://www.association-of-noise-consultants.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ProPG_Planning_and_-Noise_Consultation_-Draft_January_2016_FINALv1.1-with-watermark.pdf

The draft document is the initial attempt to bring together the different views and approaches of the practitioners in the member organisations, to produce a methodology that provides better certainty to developers and regulators. However, as currently drafted, the document would have significant impacts on future developments e.g.

“Only exceptionally should the LPA agree to assess the proposal assuming windows will be closed.”

The document is available for comment until the 31st March 2016. The more feedback received, the better the final document will be, and we encourage people to provide feedback regarding the document at the following location:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ProPG