Posted: 21st April 2021
Section 61 (S61) consents are awarded by Local Authorities for construction or demolition projects that generate noise and fall under Part III of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (CoPA). It’s vital that applicants in the construction sector understand why S61 consents are necessary. A detailed construction noise assessment is an important aspect of achieving a S61 consent.
A S61 consent is entered into jointly by the contractor and the Local Authority. Consent is granted according to the precise information provided in the application. Once consent has been granted it is essential to keep within the parameters set out in the application. Deviating from the agreed consent could mean the Local Authority issue a S60 notice. In this instance restrictions can be applied if if construction or demolition noise exceeds acceptable levels.
The S61 process is appropriate for construction sites where unusually high levels of noise are expected. Similarly, a Section 61 application is advisable if the site is in proximity to noise sensitive buildings, such as residential buildings or schools. CoPA requires that construction noise is kept to a minimum where possible. However, the definition of ‘acceptable noise levels’ is not defined and open to debate. Therefore, it can be advantageous to establish a baseline noise level prior to construction commencing. This is often requested by the Local Authority when applying for S61. Once this is established, construction work can be planned to minimise the impact of noise within practical technical and financial constraints.
By applying for S61 consent, developers can enjoy several benefits:
S61 consent should provide a defence against a S60 notice being served. A Section 60 notice can impose restrictions on hours of work, the use of certain machinery, and engineering methods. Avoiding this means timescales and budgets are more likely to be met, increasing productivity and profits.
Applying for S61 consent demonstrates a developer’s commitment to best practice methods in controlling construction site noise. This commitment to minimising disruption for the community reduces the likelihood of complaints from residents and business. Positively engaging with the Local Authority enables open and honest communication from the early stages of a project.
Receiving an Section 60 notice is problematic for developers. Not only because it imposes restrictions on construction work, but also because it is expensive and time-consuming to challenge. As Sections 60 and 61 fall under CoPA, the only route to overturning an S60 notice is via the court system.
A construction noise assessment prior to submitting an S61 application lets developers assess the likely impact of the work on noise levels in the locality. It also enables acoustics specialists to recommend Best Practicable Means mitigations to reduce noise pollution, improving the likelihood of the Local Authority issuing the Section 61 consent.
At ACA Acoustics, we conduct specialist noise assessments to help you secure S61 consent for your project. Noise and vibration monitoring is also carried out to ensure you stay within agreed limits. For more information on our specialist services, simply get in touch by phone or email.
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