Information for contractors on noise and pollutants
The Control of Pollution Act 1974 allows the council to set times during which works can be carried out and the methods of work to be used. Contractors may apply for prior approval for their works by completing a section 61 application.
- Section 61 Prior Approval Application Form
- Guidance Notes
- Site Information Document
- Dispensation / Variation Form
These requirements extend to the following works:
- Erection, construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of buildings, structures or roads
- Breaking up, opening or boring under the road or adjacent land in connection with the construction, inspection, maintenance or removal of works
- Demolitions or dredging work
- Any work of engineering constructions
Hours of permitted working
- Monday to Friday – 8am to 6pm
- Saturday – 8am to 1pm
- Sunday and Public Holidays – no working
Methods of work
In all cases, the best practicable means of minimizing noise must be sued and guidance is given in British Standard BS 5228: Parts 1 and 2 (1984) and Part 4 (1986) entitled ‘Noise control on constructions and open sites’
This does not apply to emergencies such as power failures, gas and water leaks.
Commercial businesses are sometimes disrupted by the particular noisy and drawn out aspects of building work, such as demolition. It is quite normal for office managers to approach building site managers and negotiate some respite from the noisiest of activities during the working day. In extreme cases where such negotiations have broken down, the council may impose restrictions on the times that the noisiest works, such as pneumatic drilling, can take place. It is a balance of the needs of the commercial businesses and the building sites and each case will be looked at on its own merits.
The council can specify restrictions, including hours of working using s60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Contractors that undertake noisy work outside of these hours may be liable for prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000.
Air pollution control
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 enables the council to impose requirements to prevent or abate nuisance from dust and smoke. Dust should be controlled at source by a continuous fine water spray. The perimeter of the site should be screened to a sufficient height to prevent the spread of dust. For further information contact the National Environmental Services Association.
Planning conditions relating to acoustic control
Westminster’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) contains sections relating to reducing noise and preventing significant increases in noise by
- Minimizing noise emitted from developments
- Minimizing noise and vibration transmitted between structures
- Ensure standards of design and noise insulation that will protect developments from existing external noise
It also aims to reduce noise levels throughout the city to below the maximum levels set out in the World Health Organization guidelines
- to limit certain noise from development
- to protect noise sensitive properties from disturbance
- to protect tranquil areas
- to reduce noise from transport
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