Planning Advice Note PAN 50 ANNEX A
CONTROLLING THE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF SURFACE MINERAL
1. The Control of Pollution Act 1974 obliges local authorities to inspect their areas from time to time to detect any statutory nuisances which ought to be dealt with and to take reasonable steps to investigate complaints of statutory nuisance which are made to them. Local authorities (and private individuals) can take action, through the courts if necessary, to secure the abatement of a statutory noise nuisance. In the case of local authority action this is done by a nuisance abatement notice which can be served either after a nuisance has occurred or in anticipation of a nuisance occurring or of it recurring. Non-compliance with such a notice can attract a maximum fine of 20,000 if the nuisance arises on industrial premises. However, in such a case, the defendant has a valid defence if he can prove that the best practicable means were used to prevent, or to counteract the effects of, the nuisance (see paragraphs 75-76 below).
2. Technical terms are defined in the Glossary of Technical Terms
3. L Aeq is a noise index used to describe the "average" level of a noise that varies with time (T). It allows for the different sensitivities of the human ear to different frequencies, and averages fluctuating noise levels in a manner which correlates well with human perceptions of loudness. See Glossary of Technical Terms for a fuller explanation.
4. The World Health Organisation's publication "Environmental Health Criteria 12; Noise" states that general daytime outdoor noise levels of less than 55 dB L Aeq are desirable to prevent any significant community annoyance.
5. Noise limits are not suitable for considering whether farm livestock will be caused distress or suffering as a result of noise. Different species react to different degrees, and, for example, many large animals will acclimatise quickly to noise, while noise near poultry enterprises, particularly large colony systems, may be so devastating that the enterprise would have to close on welfare grounds. However, variations also exist within species. International standards dealing with the welfare of farm animals recommend that animals shall not be exposed unnecessarily to constant or sudden loud noise and account should be taken of this recommendation. If advice is thought necessary, developers should seek expert veterinary advice. In such circumstances, planning authorities may wish to consult the Scottish Office Agriculture Environment and Fisheries Department (SOAEFD).
6. Noise from a specific source, such as mineral operation, is reflected by any facade which directly faces the operation. The resulting reflection adds to the direct sound level to yield a level measured at a microphone placed 1-2m in front of the facade which is typically 3 dB(A) higher than the "free field" level. In order to standardise the approach, 3 dB(A) should be added to predicted or measured free field levels to take account of the level actually experienced at any facade directly facing the operation. Such a correction does not apply to any facade which does not face the working.
7. Where the noise-sensitive property is a school, planning authorities and operators should have regard to the advice in BS 8233 (1987) "Sound Insulation and Noise Reduction for Buildings".
8. f the facade in question relates to a first floor room or higher, for example, in relation to night-time levels or limits, then it will be necessary to apply a correction for the difference in height compared with the monitoring position.
* Source: Adapted from Department of Environment's Report of the Noise Working Party, 1990, HMSO