We're the only ecology consultancy that will refund your money if you don't get planning based on our advice (terms apply)

Noise Assessment

Whether noise exposure in existing areas is likely to impact a planning project or a proposed development is expected to generate noise and cause significant adverse effects to the local area, a noise assessment or noise survey will be required before the local authority will consider planning applications.

Your Free Quote

Step 1 of 3

  • Where shall we send your free quote to?

Full UK coverage
Over 18 years experience
Rapid and reliable
Get planning or your £££ back

Why Choose Arbtech?

Arbtech are the best asset you can possibly have when you need ecology or tree surveys to help you obtain planning permission.

Noise Survey for Planning

Over the course of the planning stage of any new development, a number of factors need to be considered. If protected species of animals or plants could be present, an ecology survey will be needed, if trees are on the development site, an arboricultural survey will be needed, and various other assessments may be required in order to organise the necessary inspections and meet the strict conditions of your local council.

Exposure to noise can be difficult to bypass, not helped by the many different types of noise that could affect the occupants of a building, such as background noise, commercial noise, construction noise, environmental noise, industrial noise, occupational noise, temporary noise and workplace noise. Likewise, internal and external noise from a development can alter the noise character in an area, infringing on the status quo of people and wildlife in the vicinity, and raising concerns in the minds of the local authorities.

Prior to allowing any private, industrial and commercial development to generate noise to such an extent that it has an environmental impact or suffer from excessive noise from the surroundings, it would be worthwhile to consider potential noise impact pre-emptively and question whether it could cause a noise nuisance in or as a result of the local area. It is possible to do this by booking a noise assessment, allowing an acoustic consultant to undertake a risk assessment over excess noise, help with planning applications, and bring with it many other benefits such as noise surveying for health and safety purposes.

Acoustic Design

During the creation of any new building, an important part of the early planning stage consists of considering the architectural acoustics. The concept of acoustic design facilitates integration of matters relating to how sound will move around the interior of a building, prevent unwanted noise from the exterior, and eliminate any potential impact to human health.

Soundwaves will naturally bounce off interior walls and move around the building, and the same will happen externally whenever it rains or nearby sources of sound reach the building. If acoustic design has not been factored in to the development plans, a lack of sound insulation could cause unwanted sound within the building, allow indoor sound to be heard outside, and harm the acoustics.

Why Acoustical Design is Important in Building Design

First and foremost, correctly orchestrated acoustic design eliminates any chance of causing any infringements to human health. A study on patients recovering in hospital found that controlling noise effectively can play a role in supporting the health of everyone within a building. Results suggested that prolonged loud noises caused irritation, impacted pain tolerance, infringed on mental wellbeing, and induced hearing loss leading to the need for hearing tests.

It was also evident from the study that sudden bursts of noise had the power to increase blood pressure and worsen existing injuries by setting off the body’s reflexes, and noise pollution also affected the ability to sleep. Aside from potentially hindering mental and physical health, acoustical design is also crucial to guaranteeing that the transmission and flow of sound is organised accordingly in line with optimal levels.

What is a Noise Assessment?

Otherwise known as a noise survey, a noise assessment is a broad term given to an analysis of an indoor or outdoor area to determine the new, existing or predicted future sound environment. A noise assessment consultant will manage the survey process, visiting the affected area with a predetermined methodology and a suitable collection of equipment to undertake an inspection, record key information, and display their findings in a report.

In planning, it would involve measuring the local noise levels on a proposed development or the impact a proposed development could have on local noise levels. It does, however, apply to other areas away from planning too, such as in the workplace, where a noise assessment would be used to quantify the noise levels within a working environment to gauge whether it could be harmful to employees, visitors or individuals in the surrounding area.

When is a Noise Assessment Required?

As the UK’s experts on ecology and arboriculture, our sole focus lies with surveys for planning, meaning that we specialise exclusively in noise assessments in relation to development. Sharing similarities with the majority of assessments that are conducted for a proposed development, a noise survey is designed to meet requirements that will allow developers to obtain planning permission.

Whether the local planning authority requests a noise survey or the developer recognises a need for one, without the corresponding report, planning applications will be denied. At any point where a development could compromise the local noise environment or the local noise environment could compromise a development, it will be up to the developer to book a noise assessment on the development site.

Who May Undertake a Noise Assessment?

Several titles are given to the professionals that carry out noise assessments, including noise assessment consultants, noise consultants, noise surveyors, acoustic consultants and acoustic surveyors. A noise consultant will possess the licensing and qualifications to undertake noise surveys correctly and in line with the latest standards from corresponding regulators and organisations.

As well as holding the academic and legal elements, it is crucial that acoustic consultants are also fully knowledgeable about planning and the relationship between development and the requirement for certain assessments. By harnessing a comprehensive understanding of both considerations, they can ensure that the necessary information is collected from the inspection and sufficient advice is provided to guarantee adherence to the local council as a method of securing planning applications.

How Much Does a Noise Assessment Cost?

Ever since we started working as a survey consultancy, we’ve prided ourselves on guaranteeing competitive prices to clients and subsidising the cost wherever possible. Through operating in this way, we prevent the unfair likelihood of a developer paying as much for a survey on their small development site as they would have for the same type of assessment on a large development site.

We use a universal approach to price up all of our surveys, using a baseline cost for every assessment before adding on any additional costs that will be determined by the development site’s dimensions. It is an approach that we also use for noise assessments, and with that in mind, we would always implore anyone that needs a noise survey to contact our team so we can put together an accurate quote for you.

Noise Assessment Guidelines

From the perspective of the environmental health officer and the planning officer from the local authority, it will only be possible to ensure compliance to the rules of the planning system, relevant legislation and safe work regulations by assessing industrial developments, commercial developments, residential developments or private developments in a universal way.

If a development is likely to be exposed to noise or prompt a noise problem, we provide a professional service under the guidelines of UK law, the requirements of the local authorities, and based on the latest noise standards. We also factor in the potential for any noise problem on noise sensitive premises or noise sensitive developments, allowing us to tweak our approach to meet your needs.

While we cater to the main types of noise control measures to minimise noise emissions and noise complaints, we are aware of the different aspects of imposed noise conditions that can cause significant adverse effects to current and future occupants within the local environment. By working in this way, we can achieve our overall aim of carrying out a detailed review of development sites or construction sites alongside pledging an efficient service with bespoke solutions.

Noise Regulations

Within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), section 15 titled conserving and enhancing the natural environment states an intention to prevent ‘new and existing developments from contributing to, being put at unacceptable risk from, or being adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution’. The Noise Policy Statement for England (NPSE) also outlines parameters for environmental noise, neighbour noise and neighbourhood noise.

A Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) note from the government titled ‘Planning and Noise‘ (PPG24) was published in September 1994, replacing the previous guidance provided in the DoE Circular 10/73. It explained that the local planning authorities held planning powers to minimise potential impact on development caused by noise.

The subject of noise pollution and noise nuisance also features multiple times in legislation, including in part 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) and the Control of Pollution Act 1974, and in laws that address specific causes of noise such as Firework Regulations 2004, the Road Traffic Act 1972, and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use Regulations) 1986.

Noise Level Measurement Standard

For an inspection over levels of noise to be accurate, noise decibel level categories are needed to determine a range between low noise levels and high noise levels, and in turn, between acceptable noise levels and excessive noise levels.

As an example, existing noise sources, noise exposure categories and low to high levels of noise could be laid out as:

Road traffic (07:00-23:00)

Category A – below 55db

Category B – between 55db and 63db

Category C – between 63db and 72db

Category D – above 72db

Road traffic (23:00-07:00)

Category A – below 45db

Category B – between 45db and 57db

Category C – between 57db and 66db

Category D – above 66db

Rail traffic (07:00-23:00)

Category A – below 55db

Category B – between 55db and 66db

Category C – between 66db and 74db

Category D – above 74db

Rail traffic (23:00-07:00)

Category A – below 45db

Category B – between 45db and 59db

Category C – between 59db and 66db

Category D – above 66db

Air traffic (07:00-23:00)

Category A – below 57db

Category B – between 57db and 66db

Category C – between 66db and 72db

Category D – above 72db

Air traffic (23:00-07:00)

Category A – below 48db

Category B – between 48db and 57db

Category C – between 57db and 66db

Category D – above 66db

Mixed sources (07:00-23:00)

Category A – below 55db

Category B – between 55db and 66db

Category C – between 63db and 72db

Category D – above 72db

Mixed sources (23:00-07:00)

Category A – below 45db

Category B – between 45db and 57db

Category C – between 57db and 66db

Category D – above 66db

Based on the recorded decibel level, the categories above will indicate the following next steps:

Category A:

  • Noise would not play a role in determining planning decisions

Category B:

  • Noise would play a role in determining planning decisions
  • Conditions are needed to ensure protection against noise

Category C:

  • Noise would play a role in determining planning decisions
  • Planning permission would be refused
  • Conditions are needed to ensure protection against noise

Category D:

  • Noise would play a role in determining planning decisions
  • Planning permission would be refused
  • Conditions cannot be made to ensure protection against noise

Noise and Planning

Various types of noise surveys are used to weigh up the noise climate, provide recommendations to promote noise reduction or elimination, and contribute to the planning application, with each variation of noise assessments acting more effectively at different times and under a range of circumstances based on the client’s requirements.

Although more noise surveys are available such as background noise surveys, construction noise surveys, environmental noise surveys, occupational noise surveys and noise risk assessments for noise at work, none are directly linked to planning, and due to this, we wouldn’t cover them. The noise surveys below, however, are all applicable to development and support applications for planning consent.

Noise Surveys

BS 4142 Noise Assessment

Designed to analyse industrial and commercial sound, a BS 4142 inspects all potential industrial or commercial noise sources on industrial premises, such as fixed installations, goods loading and unloading, the manufacturing process, and vehicles on open sites.

The BS 4142 assessment is led by a rating level that compares the noise nuisance with the background noise level that would be present regardless. It can then be examined at length in relation to context to formulate an understanding of the impact it could have.

BS 8233 Noise Assessment

Created for gauging the suitable internal and external noise levels, a BS 8233 primarily focuses on bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms and gardens for the two separate time periods between 07:00am and 23:00pm in the day and 23:00 and 07:00 at night.

The BS 8233 assessment will calculate the background noise environment caused by nearby existing areas and noise from transport sources, and from the results, the sound insulation design can be tweaked to reduce noise on commercial and residential dwellings.

Noise Impact Assessment

Produced with the aim of predicting the sound level and noise exposure from a development on the surrounding area and the local environment, noise impact assessments will address and evaluate each noise source from planning projects and even in instances of, for example, a business extending its operating hours.

The noise impact assessment begins with an overview of the existing noise profile on the proposed development site before factoring in elements from the proposed changes and working out the extent the new noise exposure could have on human and environmental health.

Noise Assessment Report

Immediately following the completion of any noise assessments, the acoustic consultant will draft together a noise survey report for the attention of the local authority. Every detail from the inspection will be covered within it, including each noise source on the development site, the levels of noise impact, any significant adverse effects on the sound environment as a result of exposure to noise, further information if the proposed development involves sensitive premises, and next steps that will facilitate progression of the planning project.

With demonstration of consideration to the planning system and the pipeline in place that exists to limit planning applications that do not meet the provided criteria, the noise report will display acknowledgement of any corresponding development work regulations and lawful matters that could imply the development has the ability to affect health or the environment. The developer can then pass on the report to the local planning authority as a pivotal component in the planning application.

Noise Assessment Equipment

Without accuracy in either the measurement method or the programmes used to record and process the data, the sound level of noise impact will not be reliable and neither will the outcome of the noise survey.

To eliminate any likelihood of this occurring, acoustic consultants are required to use sophisticated sound measurement equipment, cutting edge tools for noise monitoring, and pragmatic software for noise modelling. In certain circumstances, it may be beneficial for the noise assessment consultant to recommend leaving equipment for several days as a way of tracking spot measurements of the sound level over a set period of time.

Common tools used in noise surveys include:

  • Calibrators
  • External environmental microphones and low noise microphones
  • Hearing protection
  • Noise dosimeters
  • Preamplifiers
  • Sound level metres (SLM) and integrating sound level metres (ISLM)

Noise Survey Near Me

Acoustic Consultants

The consultants and surveyors at Arbtech come highly recommended, covering multiple different aspects of planning to ensure that nothing stands in the way of your proposed development. All of our team are in possession of the training, qualifications and licensing to undertake surveys for planning with high levels of quality, for a wide range of industry sectors, and at a competitive price.

Nationwide coverage allows us to attend all major cities and all towns and villages in and around them. Our noise assessment consultants hold the same level of expertise and insight, giving them everything they need to evaluate the sound environment, identify noise sources, record sound levels within the current noise standard, reduce noise levels, and appease your environmental health officer and planning officer.

Contact Arbtech for a Free Quote

All you need to do to get the ball rolling on your noise survey is get in touch with our team by calling the phone number or filling out the quote form at the top of this page, or you can visit our dedicated contact page. Within a short period of reaching out, our team will reach out to you to go over the details of your planning project and development site, enabling us to formulate a free quote for you to look over.

Assuming you are happy with the no-obligation quote, confirm that you intend to move forwards with us, and we can work with you to choose a suitable date for a site visit. On the day of the noise assessment, one of our team will arrive on time, conduct the checks on the noise level and the sound environment, and from there, they can put together a noise survey report that you can use to accompany your application for planning permission.

Common Questions

The practice of acoustic design consists of managing sound and considering the relationship between sound and development, taking into account both internal and external sound, and the impact both can have on a building's noise levels.
Noise assessments can prevent a proposed development from causing significantly adverse effects on the local environment and human health, as well as ensuring that sound insulation and noise levels are correctly processed for the long-term noise standards of a building.

Ready to Get Started?

Arbtech are your best asset when it comes to getting planning permission for your project. We cover the whole of the UK and we are waiting to get started on your project...

Get Your Free Quote

Are you sure you want to leave without a free quote?

Get a Quote

No thanks, I don't need a quote