Construction Noise Management
Construction Noise Management, Section 61 Applications & Best Practicable Means
Under Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, a developer may apply to the local authority for prior consent to carry out construction or demolition works.
A Section 61 application will contain details of the work to be carried out, the time of the works and also details of any measures to reduce the noise from the works.
By applying for prior consent under Section 61, the responsibility moves from the local authority to the applicant to provide details of the proposed working times, location, methods, plant and any steps to mitigate noise for each element of the project in advance.
This offers the applicant protection from any subsequent action by the local authority under Section 60 or Section 66 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 or under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to impose further controls on noise from the site.
The other benefits for the applicant are that there are unlikely to be any unexpected complications and concerns over noise & vibration from the site can be identified and controlled in advance. At the same time this also helps to provide a method to manage the works programme and any available resources more effectively.
Best Practicable Means (or BPM as it is often abbreviated) is defined in Section 72 of the Control of Pollution Act as: “Practicable” i.e. reasonably practicable having regard among other things to local conditions and circumstances, to the current state of technical knowledge and to the financial implications.
The “means” to be employed include the design, installation, maintenance and manner and periods of operation of plant and machinery, and the design, construction and maintenance of buildings and acoustic structures.
If action is taken against a developer by the local authority under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act, or under Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act, the use of Best Practicable Means can be given as grounds to appeal against such a notice.
The use of Best Practicable Means can also be used as a defence against prosecution for not complying with the terms of such a notice.
Best Practicable Means involves making a cost-benefit assessment that compares the cost of any steps taken to minimise noise with the benefits such noise reduction measures would provide in order to strike a balance between the needs of the project and the needs of the occupants of any nearby noise sensitive premises.
Example projects we have recently worked on include:
- Dover Western Docks Regeneration for Volker Stevin & Volker Fitzpatrick;
- Colonial House, Chatham for Goody Demolition;
- Canterbury College for Morgan Sindall;
- Meridien Gate, London for Bachy Soletanche;
- Walsall Tunnel, for AMCO Rail.