Last edited 25 Dec 2020

2015 Government response to media reports about noise complaints

On 2 February 2015 the Government published a response to media reports about noise complaints following the announcement by Kris Hopkins MP on 11 January 2015, that the government was intervening to protect landlords and music promoters from crippling costs associated with soundproofing their venues.

Community Secretary Eric Pickles MP said “In recent years, too many town halls have been over-zealous in trying to silence church bells and village clocks which have chimed for decades, if not centuries. We need some common sense about such long-standing community uses… my department has now issued new, clear guidance to councils that the local character of a place should be taken into account during noise disputes”.

The new guide suggests that noise needs to be considered when new developments may create additional noise and when new developments would be sensitive to the prevailing acoustic environment. It also points out that neither the Noise Policy Statement for England nor the National Planning Policy Framework (which reflects the Noise Policy Statement) expects noise to be considered in isolation, separately from the economic, social and other environmental dimensions of proposed development.

Guidance is provided about:

  • How to determine the noise impact.
  • Observed effect levels.
  • How to recognise when noise could be a concern.
  • What factors influence whether noise could be a concern.
  • Enforcement action against a statutory nuisance.
  • How the adverse effects of noise can be mitigated.
  • Further considerations relating to mitigating the impact of noise on residential developments.
  • Whether local plans include noise standards.
  • Whether noise concerns are relevant to neighbourhood planning.
  • What factors are relevant to identifying areas of tranquillity.

The guide suggests that noise sensitive developments might adopt mitigation measures which could include avoiding noisy locations; designing the development to reduce the impact of noise from the local environment; including noise barriers; and, optimising the sound insulation provided by the building envelope.

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