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Noise can cause significant adverse impact to individuals. In scenarios where there is a disagreement between multiple parties regarding the noise, CSA’s independent acoustic consultancy can offer guidance following industry standards where appropriate or have the expertise to identify nuisances that require action. Instances of nuisances include neighbourhood noise, licenced premises noise and commercial noise.

Low frequency noise

Accurate measurement of low frequency noise is fraught with difficulties. It is a problem on the rise, and one that is increasingly difficult to tackle.

In the first instance, the local authority environmental health department (or the dedicated noise team if one exists within your local authority) should be contacted regarding investigation of the noise.

If they are unable to satisfy your request, we are of course happy to come to the property to try to measure the noise in question during either attended measurements and/or automated survey measurements following the Defra guidance of NANR45: Procedure for the assessment of low frequency noise complaints.

In instances where it is possible to measure the low frequency noise when we attend site, locating the source of noise often presents a separate challenge, which is unlikely to be resolved within the duration of survey attendance through use of equipment. Rather, this often requires an ongoing ‘process of deduction’ based on the client’s knowledge of the area and investigation at various locations of possible sources of the noise.

Unless the source of the noise is readily identifiable during our survey, it is likely to be more cost-effective for the client to undertake their own independent investigations. We would recommend involving other agencies where it is suspected that their equipment may be the cause of the noise, for instance large industrial sites, or utility infrastructure operators such as National Grid or Southern Water.

Most sources of low frequency noise are powered electrically in some way, so eliminating any electrical source in your own home is a good first step – turn off the mains electricity supply and see if it stops! If so, you can turn circuits back on one at a time to try and locate the culprit; if not at least you now know to look further afield.

We would then be more than happy to attend again at a later date to undertake further investigations, once likely sources of the noise have been pinpointed.

Neighbourhood noise

As experts in acoustics, noise control and vibration issues, there are a great number of services we are able to provide which touch on a remarkable range of fields. We can provide expert testimony to a court as to whether a dwelling has been built to the legally required standards of sound insulation or whether a certain individual, on a certain day could have clearly heard what another had shouted at them through a motorcycle helmet. We can assess the likely range of disturbance to marine mammals from proposed piling, and we can tell you whether or not egg-boxes on the wall of your den will make any difference to how your drum kit sounds.

Areas in which we are less successful, however, include:

Making your neighbours’ dog stop barking

Stopping freight trains waking light sleepers

Changing people’s nocturnal habits or choice in music

We are delighted to have enquiries for consultancy projects in areas we may be able to assist, the first ports of call for neighbour nuisance related issues should be (in order); your neighbours, the local authority environmental health department and the police. 

Licensed Premises

The local authority will be your best port of call for noise nuisances that arise from Licensed Premises.

Planning departments often require surveys as part of the planning process or implement conditions on the premises.

For example, they could ask that prior to a license being awarded, they have demonstrated that patron noise / live or recorded music noise will not be audible or create adverse comment from nearby residents.

Industrial and Commercial

It’s good to talk.

Through the use of any relevant Planning Conditions and Policies, the local authority will initially be best placed to ascertain if items of machinery or operations within industrial or commercial premises are causing a noise nuisance. From an air con unit with degraded anti-vibration mounting, to a builder’s yard or workshop introducing new working practices, the local authority is on hand to help.

Of course, we would be happy to help where we can once all available avenues are exhausted.