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All content are opinions and objections that were raised as part of the response to Msport planning application to Allerdale planning ref 2/2014/0350. If you have any comment or disagreement then first realise that opinion is just that, opinion in a public planning process. You may email factual errors to Contact @ dovenbynoise.info
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[This document will be highly annotated by objectors and is the subject of professional analysis disagreement by noise experts]
Setting Maximum Noise Level Control
This document moves on from our research paper, “Establishing Maximum Noise Level Control”, dated 13 November 2015; and takes into consideration the subsequent dialogue with Allerdale Borough Council (ABC), and in particular their critique of the afore mentioned research paper.
We now table our proposals for consideration by ABC in relation to the setting of LAFmax(dB)1 and LAeq(5min)(dB) noise levels which will afford amenity protection to the community, in relation to the operation of the M-Sport Evaluation Centre (MEC) at Dovenby Hall Estate.
As noted in our previous research paper, we have reviewed legislation, guidance, extant permissions, High Court Judgement Proceedings (Case No: CO/941/2015)2, together with correspondence from MAS Environmental Limited and Clarke Saunders Acoustics raised throughout the process; and other data as valuable references to help inform the decision process.
It must be re-emphasised that the objective is to agree and set a reasonable maximum noise level to protect the community, therefore no reference to the operational requirements of the MEC have been included within this document; they are not relevant in terms of community protection.
Once agreed, controls on peak noise will be incorporated into the Noise Management Plan (NMP) together with the existing approved LAeq (1hr) noise levels (43dB, 50db & 55dB – Category A, B & C). The NMP will set out clearly the operational management of the MEC together with all controls and procedures.
This document will form part of the supporting evidence in the application to discharge the amended condition 6 as approved on 1 October 2015.
Review of Judicial Review and Plaintiffs Consultants Correspondence
A review of High Court Judgement as referenced above, together with correspondence from MAS Environmental Limited and Clarke Saunders Acoustics raised throughout the process; has provided no useful reference, direction of advice on the setting of peak level controls. To the contrary, the judge makes clear that this is a matter for the local authority. In Mr Justice Holgate’s judgement of 12th October 2015, he states, in paragraph 60, that, “….the assessment of existing levels of noise in the community or the noise that would be emitted from the test track when in use, and the means by which that noise should be controlled. These are matters of judgment for the local planning authority.”
After extensive research we are in agreement with ABC that there is no extant legislation which states a maximum allowable day time LAmax(dB). It has been commonly established that British Standards, the International Organization for Standardization and World Health Organisation are used as reference sources globally.
World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) published Guidelines for Community Noise5 in 1999. This document states “At night, sound pressure levels at the outside façades of the living spaces should not exceed 45dB LAeq and 60dB LAmax, so that people may sleep with bedroom windows open. These values have been obtained by assuming that the noise reduction from outside to inside with the window partly open is 15 dB.”6
In clarification of the measurement of maximum levels (LAmax) of individual noise events, WHO notes that, “for cases such as the noise from a single passing vehicle, LAmax values should be measured using the Fast response time because it will give a good correlation with the integration of loudness by our hearing system.”7
We therefore propose that best practice guidance shall be adopted and that LAFmax should be the measure used in this process.
Furthermore it would be reasonable to derive that a LAFmax exceeding 60dB would fall within an acceptable daytime level within the community.
5 This WHO document on the Guidelines for Community Noise is the outcome of the WHO- expert task force meeting held in London, United Kingdom, in April 1999. It bases on the document entitled “Community Noise” that was prepared for the World Health Organization and published in 1995 by the Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute.
6 Section 4.3.1. Dwellings
7 Section 2.1.4. Individual noise events
Policy, Standards and Guidance
This British Standard provides guidance for the control of noise in and around both new and refurbished buildings applying for change of use; and was updated in 2014. The new document provides recommended guideline values for internal noise levels within dwellings which are similar in scope to guideline values contained within the World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise, 1999 (WHO).
Unlike the previous version, BS 8233:2014 doesn’t provide recommendations in relation to maximum noise levels in residential bedrooms at night from individual noise events such as vehicle pass-bys or aircraft movements. Instead, it advises that:
“regular individual noise events…can cause sleep disturbance. A guideline value may be set in terms of SEL (Sound Exposure Level) or LAFmax depending on the character and number of events per night. Sporadic noise events could require separate values”.
The new guidance does, however, provide limited guidance for indoor noise levels from external noise events for hotel bedrooms, with a recommended indoor night time noise range of 45 – 55 dB LAmax.
Taking the, WHO defined, 15dB reduction afforded by a partially open window would give a night-time LAFmax of 70dB.
With reference to the highest permitted Category A, with a LAeq 1hour of 55dB, maximum levels of noise for various durations, within any one hour, can be calculated as shown in the table below.
Time 1hr 30min 5min 1min 15sec 3.75sec 0.94sec 0.23sec 0.12sec
dB 55 58 65.8 72.8 78.8 84.8 90.8 96.8 99.8
Every 3dB9 increase halves the allowable time within the agreed LAeq 1hour.
Without the further controls that this document seeks to set, a community Fast10 Max (LAFmax) of approximately 100dB, in any one hour, would be permitted by the approved scheme.
As can be seen from the data tabled above LAmax levels of up to 88.1dB are currently being experienced in the natural environment. Receptors in the local community could be expected to experience these levels on a regular basis and over varying time periods as they represent normal background noises in this environment.
Examples of Peak Noise Levels in this environment
Traffic at 10m 90dB
Dogs barking at 10m 100dB
Leaf blower 100dB
Petrol hedge cutter 100dB
Grain auger 105dB
Lawn mower at 1m 107dB
Grain dryer 110dB
Wood chipper 110dB
Chainsaw at 1m 117dB
Rifle being fired at 1m 140dB
Bird Cannon crop protector 155dB
It should be noted that in many instances above, those noise levels could be experienced for prolonged periods, e.g. grass cutting.
The fast max is measured over a time constant of 125 milliseconds; for reference the time taken to blink is 300 – 400 milliseconds.
Proposed LAFmax constraint
As directed by Mr Justice Holgate, in paragraph 84 of his judgement, he stated that the Council must “impose noise controls on peak noise whether by LAmax or measures such as LAeq over a much shorter duration than 1 hour.” Following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, we have more stringently sought to apply a maximum control by setting a fast max (LAFmax) as opposed to LAmax.
Given the absence of any clear precedent in the ascertainment of a LAFmax (or indeed LAmax) level as a planning constraint, we have sought to seek a level that is rational, reasonable and demonstrable. In doing so, we have taken a three pronged approach.
1. BS 8233 – Night Time Maximum Levels
2. The calculable levels permitted by the extant planning approval
3. Existing background levels.
1. BS 8233 gives an indoor night-time level of 55dB LAmax. With reference to WHO guidance an external level of 70dB LAmax can be ascertained (see page 7). This does not give definitive guidance to an equivalent day time level, but gives a reference point.
2. The extant planning permission allows by calculation a level of approximately 100dB for 125milliseconds seconds in any one hour (see page 7).
3. The existing background maximum levels have been recorded in various locations between 78 & 88.1dB LAmax (see page 10).
Our objective in setting a LAFmax level is for it to be an additional level of control to that already consented. In the context of the foregoing, our proposal was to reduce the acoustic intensity (power) by approximately 200 times versus the calculable Fast Max (100dB). Furthermore to reduce perceived loudness by almost fivefold.