Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Noise Pollution

16.29 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) outlines that local plan policies and development management decisions should aim to avoid noise from giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life as a result of new development. It states that where conflict does arise, impacts must as far as possible be mitigated against and be reduced to a minimum.

16.30 The Government's Noise Policy Statement for England stated priority is to:

'Avoid significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life from environmental, neighbour and neighbourhood noise within the context of Government policy on sustainable development'.

16.31 The second aim is to mitigate and minimise adverse impacts, and the third is to contribute to the improvement of health and quality of life through effective management control of noise.

16.32 Noise is a material consideration when determining planning applications. The Governments National Planning Practice Guidance[i] states that consideration should be given to:

  • 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.

16.33 The guidance provides the following noise hierarchy to determine when noise could be a concern:

Table 14 - Noise Hierarchy


Examples of outcomes

Increasing effect level


Not noticeable

No effect

No observed effect

No specific measures required

Noticeable and not intrusive

Noise can be heard, but does not cause any change in behaviour or attitude. Can slightly affect the acoustic character of the area but not such that there is a perceived change in the quality of life.

No observed adverse effect

No specific measures required



Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level


Noticeable and intrusive

Noise can be heard and causes small changes in behaviour and/or attitude, e.g. turning up volume of television; speaking more loudly; closing windows for some of the time because of the noise. Potential for non-awakening sleep disturbance. Affects the acoustic character of the area such that there is a perceived change in the quality of life.

Observed Adverse Effect

Mitigate and reduce to a minimum



Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level


Noticeable and disruptive

The noise causes a material change in behaviour and/or attitude, e.g. having to keep windows closed most of the time, avoiding certain activities during periods of intrusion. Potential for sleep disturbance resulting in difficulty in getting to sleep, premature awakening and difficulty in getting back to sleep. Quality of life diminished due to change in acoustic character of the area.

Significant Observed Adverse Effect


Noticeable and very disruptive

Extensive and regular changes in behaviour and/or an inability to mitigate effect of noise leading to psychological stress or physiological effects, e.g. regular sleep deprivation/awakening; loss of appetite, significant, medically definable harm, e.g. auditory and non-auditory

Unacceptable Adverse Effect



16.34 The guidance suggests four broad types of mitigation against noise:

  • engineering: reducing the noise generated at source and/or containing the noise generated;
  • layout: where possible, optimising the distance between the source and noise-sensitive receptors and/or incorporating good design to minimise noise transmission through the use of screening by natural or purpose built barriers, or other buildings;
  • using planning conditions/obligations to restrict activities allowed on the site at certain times and/or specifying permissible noise levels differentiating as appropriate between different times of day, such as evenings and late at night, and;
  •  mitigating the impact on areas likely to be affected by noise including through noise insulation when the impact is on a building.

Further information and guidance can be found in the following sources:

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Acoustic and Noise Consultants and Institute of Acoustics: Professional Practice Guidance on Planning and Noise

British Standard 4142: Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound

British Standard 5228 Code of practice for noise and vibration control on construction and open sites

British Standard 6472 Vibration

British Standard 8233 Guidance on sound insulation and noise reduction for buildings


Policy SE06 - Noise Pollution

In areas where noise levels are relatively high, permission will be granted for noise-sensitive development only where adequate mitigation is provided, and the impact of the noise can be reduced to acceptable levels.

Development proposals that generate significant levels of noise must be accompanied by a scheme to mitigate such effects, bearing in mind the nature of surrounding uses. Proposals that would have an unacceptable impact on noise-sensitive areas or uses will not be permitted.



Noise Action Plan Important Areas

16.35 Noise Action Plans have been prepared in line with the terms of the Environmental Noise Directive and cover noise from roads, railways and agglomerations. There are 26 road related 'Important Areas' and 2 rail Important Areas in Thanet. (These correspond with hotspots identified in the AQMA).

16.36 Within the identified areas, residential development will need to include mitigation measures to reduce the impact of noise on residential amenity. Such measures may include screening/barriers, double glazing, locating windows so they are not opposite the noise source. Developers should liaise with Kent County Council as the Highway Authority to agree appropriate mitigation.

Policy SE07 - Noise Action Plan Important Areas

Proposals for residential development within identified Important Areas in the Noise Action Plan must incorporate mitigation measures against the impact of noise on residential amenity.