Environmental Noise Assessment

Man on Roof with Pipes Small

Moloney & Associates Acoustic & Environmental Consultants have undertaken environmental noise surveys and assessments since 1994 and we have experience of wide range of methodologies and assessment procedures.

Our practice has helped clients at the design and planning stages of many projects and we also perform routine noise assessments, Annual Noise Surveys, Environmental Noise Studies for EIA and at the planning and commissioning phases of developments.  We also routinely assess environmental noise  complaints and in this regard have gained extensive court experience.

We have assisted many developers and industries to advance their proposals in a sustainable manner and have helped to improve the design of facilities to   eliminate noise problems at source.  We have also supported applications for planning permission and environmental permits and licences. In situations   where significant impacts have been predicted, mitigation and control measures have been developed. We also have assisted many clients in reducing the noise impact of their activities by developing noise controls for targeted noise sources.

We have been appointed expert noise witnesses in numerous court cases and we predominantly act for industrial clients, service and entertainment industries, residents and local authorities.  In many cases we have provided expert noise assessment and guidance to local authorities in the processing of complex planning applications and/or permit authorisations.  We have also represented local authorities at planning inquiries and at court hearings.

Investigating Noise Complaints

Many environmental noise complaints give rise to the need for an objective environmental assessment.  In practice complaints may be triggered by a number of factors, e.g., the intensification of activities on a site, a change in site operations, or a change in the noise emissions from a particular process.  In addition, some complaints arise due to changes at a noise sensitive location, e.g., the removal of an acoustic barrier, a change in personal circumstances for the receptor of the noise and/or a degree of hypersensitivity to noise. Hyperacusis for example is an extreme aversion and hypersensitivity to sounds that are generally not an issue to others and treatments are available for severe or persistent hyperacusis.

An objective assessment should identify if there are reasonable grounds for complaint and/or annoyance.  It is important to know whether an ‘average’ resident residing at the complainant’s property is likely to be disturbed by the noise and whether the complaint has more to do with the complainant’s sensitivity.

For intermittent noise sources, especially when the noise sensitive location is a considerable distance from the noise source, meteorological conditions can be a determining factor.  Whenever there may be a question as to the bona fides of the complaint, an objective assessment (e.g., utilising BS 4142 methodology) should be undertaken and an expert judgement made as to whether reasonable grounds for complaint exist.  In some situations the expert assessment will determine that the complaint is not justifiable and/or is influenced by extraneous factors or the circumstances of the complainant.