HA Acoustics were instructed to undertake a daytime environmental noise assessment upon a parcel of land that is adjacent to a gypsy/traveller site. The purpose of the assessment was to clarify to our client typical sound levels affecting the adjacent gypsy/traveller site; and whether these were likely to exceed the Design Range for habitable rooms (living room & bedrooms) as stipulated within BS 8233: 1999 (since revised). In addition, we were asked to compare the results with the recommended noise levels stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in order to gauge whether these levels were harmful to health and to indicate the most likely PPG24 (since superceded) Noise Exposure Category (NEC) for the adjacent land.
Following noise survey and calculations, our acoustic report concluded that the dominant noise source is due to freight traffic on the A14.
We did not consider the fence surrounding the gypsy/traveller site to be an acoustic fence. This was contrary to what was shown as part of the planning application.
That with regards sound levels , these exceed WHO recommended levels and in our opinion the health impacts referred to by the EHO to the planning department, remained relevant.
When we considered BS8233: 1999, the sound levels logged indicated that within the caravan BS8233 Design Range levels were unlikely to be met. Though we were not in a position to examine the glazing of the caravan, to see if this had been upgraded.
It was also noted that sound levels within the garden exceed 55dB.
Though we did not undertake a nighttime assessment, the A14 is a busy dual carriageway, with four lanes of traffic. As such, HA Acoustics considered it unlikely that levels would notably drop, and that whilst rescinded the most likely Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) noise criteria would be NEC B/C during the daytime. Finally, to conclude, whilst National Planning Policy Framework remains subjective for categorising noise and no specific noise limits for LOAEL and SOAEL have been defined. HA Acoustics opinion is that noise from the road traffic has a ‘significant adverse impact’ upon the site.