Planning, Permitting & Sustainability

Environmental noise issues were once the concern only of the developed world, but now there is worldwide desire for international standards to apply on environmental matters, and this applies as much to noise as to other impacts. For example, both the World Health Authority and the World Bank publish standards on noise applicable to international projects.

Policies are implemented through the planning process at the design stage, and thereafter through permitting, and the use of sustainability criteria. Within the UK there have been significant changes in government guidance on noise following the desire to simplify Regulation. Currently the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the main planning objectives and detailed guidance is contained in Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). The planning route for some large projects is through National Infrastructure Planning (NIP) and in all cases ongoing permitting issues are dealt with separately by the relevant environmental agency EA/SEPA/NRW. Part of the regulation process often requires the demonstration of Best Available Technology or Best Available Techniques (BAT) on noise mitigation design. Within the construction industry, meeting sustainability criteria is increasingly required by clients, with achieving high BREEAM ratings being sought.

Spectrum has a long track record of preparing Noise Assessments, Noise Management Plans and Noise Monitoring Plans as required to discharge a planning condition or as a condition for an Environmental Permit. We provide specialist reports including expert testimony, and also act as noise expert witnesses on a very wide range of projects in the industrial and building sector. These have generally been carried out in relation to planning applications, planning appeals but also nuisance actions brought under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Projects include:

  • Noise assessments for 5 new Custody Centres for the Metropolitan Police
  • Technical reports assessing acoustic amenity for residential and mixed use schemes
  • Specialist reports to support many supermarket applications, appeals and hours extensions
  • Over 200 noise assessments to support routine planning applications
  • Expert Evidence delivered in court relating to Noise Nuisance Appeals
  • Expert witness work at planning appeals, including written representations, hearings and inquiries for all types of development
  • EIA noise chapters for many large Industrial and Construction Projects
  • Three senior staff routinely called as experts in Public Inquiries
  • Expert testimony for License hearings, for nightclubs, clubs and pubs
  • Environmental Noise Impact Assessments of 13 UK prisons, for Home Office
  • Obtaining acoustic BREEAM credits on mixed use developments (Hea 05 and Pol 05)