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New planning practice guidance: Planning & Noise

The long-awaited launch of the ProPG took place on 22nd June in Birmingham; over 200 delegates came to hear about the new planning guidance.  The ProPG aims to do more than just fill the gap that was left by the withdrawal of the former PPG 24.  The guidance has been jointly developed by the Association of Noise Consultants (ANC), the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).  It proposes a new method and context for the consideration of noise affecting residential developments, and provides a framework for assessment that seeks to meet the requirements of both developers and development control bodies.   The ProPG will significantly change the way that noise assessments for residential development are carried out.

Jack Harvie-Clark was delighted to be asked to talk at the ProPG launch event on the subject of noise, ventilation and overheating.  Download the new guidance from the links at the bottom of the page, along with the slides from the launch event presentations.

The new guidance emphasises the importance of good acoustic design in the planning process and goes some way to describing what this may mean.  It will be interesting to see how the guidance is adopted by different local authorities, as it leaves plenty of discretion for decision takers.  One of the core issues that raised hundreds of responses to the consultation was the question of opening windows: should all new residential development be required to meet reasonable internal ambient noise levels with open windows?  While this is an admirable aspiration, it is clearly not practicable on many sites in urban areas or anywhere in the vicinity of significant roads, railways, or airports.  The ProPG emphasises the importance of assessing the provisions for ventilation and thermal comfort (overheating) where windows are assumed to be closed for sound insulation purposes.

Good acoustic design describes the process of considering the environmental noise impacts on the proposed residential development from the early stages in a project. Site layout, building massing, orientation and internal layouts can all be important to demonstrating good acoustic design.  Noise needs to be considered in the context of the internal environmental quality (IEQ), to avoid trade-offs with other aspects of the internal environment such as daylighting, sunlight, ventilation and thermal comfort.

Apex has been at the forefront of research and dissemination on the interdependence of noise, ventilation and overheating since 2013, and organised the session at the Association of Noise Consultants’ conference on the same subject; the presentations are available to download here.  Delegates to both events hopefully came away feeling well informed and ready to work with the new guidance.

Apex won the top accolade in the Environmental Acoustics category for its exemplar good acoustic design in the Environmental Acoustics Award for its work at the United House site in Swanley, Kent.  You can read about this case study here.

We are pleased to offer a CPD on the new planning guidance, and what this will mean for your projects.  Please do not hesitate to contact Jack Harvie-Clark to discuss your requirements.

The ProPG and two supplementary documents are available as free downloads from the Association of Noise Consultants website here, or from the Institute of Acoustics with the launch presentations here.

Apex Acoustics Ltd Design Works, William St, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE10 0JP Head office: 0191 620 0750 Midlands: 0115 708 0750

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