In what could well be a test case concerning the revised BS 4142 “Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound”, a planning appeal has been allowed in favour of Wainhomes for a new housing estate near an existing cement works in Par, Cornwall. Peter Henson of BAP provided expert evidence on noise matters for Wainhomes and argued that the noise from the nearby industrial site formed part of the existing noise climate and that guidance and criteria, other than that given in BS 4142, should be used to judge the acceptability of the site for new housing. Others argued BS 4142 should be used in isolation and that the industrial noise should be judged against a lower background noise prevailing in the absence of industrial activities.
BAP relied upon advice in the revised BS 4142 and also guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework concerning LOAEL’s and SOAEL’s. A LOAEL is the lowest observed adverse effect level and a SOAEL is a significant observed adverse effect level. The Inspector agreed with BAP that the site would be exposed to a noise level lying somewhere between these two levels. He advised that with suitable mitigation measures in place(as those proposed for the development which included the layout of dwellings with windows of habitable rooms facing away from nearby noise sources, enhanced glazing and acoustic ventilation provision and a noise barrier), the proposed housing development is acceptable.