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Noise Management Plan

A Noise Management Plan is a Document intended to support an Environmental Permitting Application or a Planning Application.

It has two main purposes:

  1. A statement of intent with regards to your intention to mange noise on site. It proves to the Environment Agency that you have thought about the implications of what you operation's acoustic impacts are.

  2. An instruction manual for management and employees. If you receive a complaint in relation to noise, the noise management plan can be consulted and appropriate action taken. It also provide details on the best operating techniques to reduce noise, and methods of record keeping.

We Will Write Your Noise Management Plan

If you would like Southwest Environmental limited to write your noise management plan for you then we can, please call or email us and we will give you a quotation.

noise levels LAeq 5min

Noise Units Explained

So let us look at some example based on the above points. But before we start a quick explanation of the weird units used presenting noise data.

Peak Noise - If we clap our hands we can make quite a loud noise. But but comes and goes very quickly. These sorts of noises (short and loud) can easily go over recommended noise levels such as the BS5228-1:2009 noise limit of 75dB, but the noise limit is "LAeq" . . . what does that mean? 

Noise Over a Period - In order to asses whether a place is noisy or not we most therefore consider, how long the noise lasts for, take a round of applause after a very good show this might last for 5 minutes and create a sound level of 75db. If the room is silent prior the event, and we were measuring for 15 minutes, we might get a LAeq 15min sound level of 25dB. 15 divided by 5 is 3, 75db divided by 3 is 25db Aeq 15min.

There is a little more too it than this, but simply put we are averaging the peaks over the period indicated, you can have a 15 minute average, 1 hour average or 5h avearge which will fit in with various standards.

Are You Noisy?

In order to write a good noise management plan you need to think about how noisy you will be. But what is noisy?

The very lowest noise levels which can disturb people are around 45db. Above this and you can disturb people trying to sleep. This is very quite. But when we consider that sleep disturbance can lead to stress and heart disease then it is worthwhile to consider this lower limit.

What ever you are doing unless it is waving a feather around will likely create more noise than 45db. BS 5228 recommends that noisy things should not be 5db noisier than whatever was there in the first place. So how much noise you can make is relative to amount of noise there is already.

The inside of the flat near a busy main road could be around 54db (1 hour average). We could say that if the noise level go over 59db (1 Hour average) then that would be unacceptable.

So, are you noisy? If you are 5db noisier than everybody else, then yes. But (!) this is is 5db louder where the "listener" is, not where you are (see "where are you" below).

So the upshot of this is that you need to do some noise monitoring to find out how noisy the place is before you start.

How to Keep Quite

A noise management plan is really all about telling people (neighbours, planner, environment agency) how you intend on keeping quite. It can be a quite a long list and involve allsorts of different measures, not just making less noise, but making noise at certain times of day. I will now run through three option for a demolition job and we will pick the one that is best when considering noise:

Good - We could use expanding grout or hydraulic crushers to quietly break up concrete and remove the structure. If it were a small amount we could remove it is small pieces by hand, or we could remove large sections intact and break down further off site, perhaps at a waste transfer station.

Bad - We could use a large excavator with a "pecker" or hydraulic breaker to smash all of the concrete to bits. This would be noisy, and unless you are in the middle of no where this would certainly be unacceptable.

Ugly - Explosives. Far too noisy.

So in a noise management plan you would try and pick the good option from above. If not then you would have to justify why you haven't.

Where are You

Now! If you are undertaking some work in central London next to a school then you will have to choose good options to reduce noise. But what is you are breaking up concrete in the middle of nowhere? Then you will likely be allowed to be a bit nosier.

The main thing that helps is distances, sound fades over distance, and as such if you are working 10 miles from a school, you will allowed to make much more noise than if you were working next door.

Best Practicable Means

To write a really good Noise Management Plan you will need to follow best practicable means.

If the contractor has applied best practicable means to the provision of mitigation, i.e. all reasonable measures have been taken to reduce the noise levels, but levels are still  such  that  widespread  community  disturbance  or  interference  with  activities  or sleep  is  likely  to  occur,  there  are  two  further  provisions  that  can  be  made  if  the construction  activities  are  likely  to  continue  for  a  significant  period  of  time  either continuously or sporadically. These are as follows:

a)    Noise insulation (NI). This is the provision of secondary glazing to the windows of affected habitable rooms. Additional ventilation provision might also be necessary to allow the windows to be kept closed whilst maintaining the appropriate number of air changes in the room. Secondary glazing increases attenuation and this can provide a significant improvement to the internal noise environment

b)    Temporary or permanent re-housing (TRH). Where construction noise levels are such  that  noise  insulation  will  not  provide  sufficient  attenuation  to  prevent disturbance  or  interference  with  activities  or  sleep,  then  the  occupants  can  be temporarily re-housed away from the construction site. However, if the nature of the construction  activities  means  that  re-housing  would  be  necessary  for  a  significant extent  of  time,  e.g.  in  excess  of  six  months,  then  there  might  be  advantages  in offering  permanent  re-housing,  i.e.  the  property  would  be  purchased  by  the developer  and  the  occupants  would  purchase  another  property  elsewhere.  The property would then remain vacant or be used by site personnel for the duration of the works, after which it can be re-sold.

c)    Where, in spite of the mitigation measures applied and any Section 61 consent under the  Control  of  Pollution  Act  1974,  noise  levels  at  some  properties  are  expected  to exceed  trigger levels for the periods  defined below, a scheme for the installation of noise insulation or  the reasonable costs thereof, or a  scheme to facilitate temporary rehousing  of  occupants,  as  appropriate,  will  be  implemented  by  the  developer  or promoter. The scheme will include provision for the notification of affected parties.


A its most basic the noise management plan will tell others how you intend to keep quiet. But as we have seen, "noise", "quiet" and "how" all need a great deal of measuring and explaining, and all decisions need to be tied to standards and other guidance. It can be done with perseverance, but we are here to do it for you if you would rather.