COVID-19 - How do you conduct a Noise Survey when you can't go outside?
A noise survey can be required to support the planning application of a development which is in a dense, urban location. But right now, a survey isn't possible because of the COVID-19 lockdown. So what is the alternative?
By: ParkerJones Acoustics
The problem is, a noise survey is conducted at site. Right now, a survey isn't possible because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Even if one can get to site, noise levels will be unrepresentative. It's too quiet right now, because of the lack of people on the streets, and in their vehicles.
So how can a planning application go ahead without delay, without a noise survey?
Fortunately, a noise impact assessment can still be produced as a desktop exercise, without a site noise survey. For the foreseeable future, most local planning authorities and environmental health officers are willing to accept an approach based on noise modelling.
And this is exactly what ParkerJones Acoustics have been doing.
A comprehensive 3D noise map model can be produced for most sites, with the model parameters configured to predict noise levels based on several sources of information:
- Noise survey data and other relevant information from nearby sites and planning applications which are within a short distance of the proposed site, or within similar proximity to the same roads that pass close to the proposed site.
- Traffic count data available from several sources including the Department for Transport (DFT) and transport studies commissioned by local councils. Traffic data can be input into the model which is able to conduct calculations in accordance with the Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CRTN) methodology.
- Noise mapping data for major transport routes available online from the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), as part of a Strategic Noise Mapping exercise.
This may be tricky for developments in rural locations away from transportation noise… but these sites often don't need a noise assessment anyway. In busy, city centre or urban locations, this methodology works just fine.
So in fact, if anything, a noise impact assessment can be conducted quicker than before, without needing a noise survey!
ParkerJones Acoustics is a small independent noise consultancy firm in Bristol and London (UK), established in 2019. We work across all sectors and development types, on any type of acoustics, noise, or vibration assessment.