Had a lovely day today surveying at Heybridge in Essex. I hadn’t thought it would be that pleasant but I spent the day alternating between a riverside and a wetland wildlife reserve in glorious sunshine. Interesting too, with a large recycling plant across the water from residential properties.

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It got me thinking about the balance between acoustics and “other things” – hard to believe that there are other things I know.  Recycling is clearly important but it’s not the quietest of activities.  Where do we draw the line when new facilities like this are developed – what’s a tolerable nuisance, and what is too much? Traditionally we would assess using BS 4142 for this but I’m not sure if that’s the only consideration these days.  What do you think? Would you be more tolerant to noise from something “good” than from, say, a garment factory?

Happily today’s job wasn’t to accuse anyone of nuisance – it was to consider design conditions for new housing. But this also begs the question of what is tolerable – if the noise is there before you are, you can choose whether or not it’s acceptable to you before you move in.  I think this puts local planning authorities in a difficult position.

Part of my assessment will consider BS 4142 and I’m interested to see how it turns out – however there was certainly one local resident who didn’t seem bothered.

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