On 6 March 2014 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched this planning practice guidance web-based resource.
For the first time, planning practice guidance is now available entirely online in a usable and accessible way. DCLG states that important information for any user of the planning system previously only published in separate documents can now be found quickly and simply.
Planning practice guidance will be updated as needed and any revisions can be viewed on the site.
The guidance is intended to assist practitioners. Ultimately the interpretation of legislation is for the Courts but this guidance is an indication of the Secretary of State's views. The department seeks to ensure that the guidance is in plain English and easily understandable. DCLG will be actively managing the planning practice guidance, and any necessary updates will be made as soon as possible.
For noise, the guidance states that Local planning authorities' plan-making and decision taking should take account of the acoustic environment and in doing so consider:
- whether or not a significant adverse effect is occurring or likely to occur;
- whether or not an adverse effect is occurring or likely to occur; and
- whether or not a good standard of amenity can be achieved.
In line with the Explanatory Note of the Noise Policy Statement for England, this would include identifying whether the overall effect of the noise exposure (including the impact during the construction phase wherever applicable) is, or would be, above or below the SOAEL and the LOAEL for the given situation.
The guidance provides a table summarising the noise exposure hierarchy, based on the likely average response. It shows the perceptions, example outcomes and actions to take according to the effect level observed.
The guidance also deals with the factors that influence whether noise could be a concern, how the adverse effects of noise can be mitigated and the factors that are relevant to identifying areas of tranquillity. The guidance can be found at the following link.