When you’ll need an acoustic assessment

The national planning policy framework says that we need to prevent developments from causing, or being put at an unacceptable risk of noise pollution. This applies to new and existing developments.

This is reflected in the national planning practice guidance.

This means many applications need to look at noise.

We’ve listed some of the more common scenarios we see on this page. This will help you decide whether you need to submit acoustic data for a development you’re proposing. 

If you’re still unsure, please phone 01273 294 266, or send an email to ehl.environmentalprotection@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

If you are looking for an acoustic consultant, you can find a list of registered acoustics specialists from the Institute of Acoustics. They’re able to do an acoustic assessment for you.

Installation of a plant or machinery

If you plan to install an external plant or machinery in your design, you may need an acoustic assessment.

You need to have the plant assessed by an acoustics specialist in line with British Standard 4142 (BS4142:2014). 

The most common plant or machinery we see in applications are: 

  • extract units
  • condenser units for fridges and freezers
  • air conditioning units

Road and rail traffic noise

If you propose to build homes in an area with potentially high road or rail traffic noise, you’ll need to submit an acoustic report.

You need to have the traffic noise assessed by an acoustics specialist in line with the World Health Organisation standards and British Standard 8233 (BS8233:2014).

If needed, the report should include recommended acoustic protective measures, like sound barriers, to make sure the rooms that will be lived in meet the appropriate standards.

Where traffic noise is an issue, the standards can usually only be met with windows closed. If this is the case, you’ll need to include an alternative way to ventilate the rooms.

Industrial or commercial areas

You need to submit an acoustic report if you plan to build homes in an area with nearby commercial or industrial uses that are likely to have a noise impact.

The report will need to describe the: 

  • different types of noise associated with nearby sites
  • noise levels from their activities
  • level of impact this will have on proposed residents

This information will help you decide what acoustic protective measures, like sound barriers, to put in place to make sure you meet the World Health Organisation standards and British Standard 8233 (BS8233:2014). 

These measures should also protect existing businesses.

In rare cases - like if a property is proposed next to highly active industrial sites - the noise could be enough that there's no way to protect future residents. Or there’s no way that existing businesses will not be affected by future complaints. 

It’s not always about levels of noise. More recent guidance reflects that you should consider the quality of life impact.

In these cases, Environmental Health will be unable to recommend approval. But the overall decision will rest with the Planning team, taking all matters into account.