Environmental Noise

Environmental Noise refers to noises heard in the area where we live or spend time. It is often assessed for planning issues, both residential and industrial or sometimes when neighbourhood noise becomes a nuisance either from industrial premises or from residential properties.


Local Authority planning departments may require an assessment for the development of new residential dwellings or change of use to form new dwellings. National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG)  gives guidance when a development is planned near a source of traffic noise such as a road, railway or airport or near a source of industrial or commercial noise such as a factory, waste recycling facility or retail unit.

NPPG can be viewed at http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/noise/

Planning Noise Assessments may also consider standards including:

  • BS8233:2014 Guidance on Sound Insulation and Noise Reduction for Buildings
  • BS4142:2014 Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on noise
  • BS5228-1:2009 Code of practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites. Noise

Noise Impact:

When assessing whether an industrial noise is a problem, Local Authority officials often use BS4142:2014
Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound

This describes a methodology for judging whether noise arising from an industrial source near residential areas is likely to give rise to complaints. The Problem Noise is compared against the background noise level at the residential area and takes into account whether the noise is intermittent, impulsive or has a distinctive tonal character such as whine, hiss or screech.

Noise Impact Assessments are also often required when applying to build a new industrial or commercial site, extending an existing industrial or commercial site or adding new equipment such as an air conditioning unit or fan.