Noise and vibrations

Complex matter, but we will help you get started

With the Environment and Planning Act, the existing standards framework for noise also changes in many aspects. Although the legislation provides for transitional law, it ultimately abolishes the well-known ‘Noise Abatement Act’ and partially introduces a new set of instruments.

Unfortunately, this does not result in a simplification of the complex noise legislation. The rules on noise are quite ‘fragmented’ under the Environment and Planning Act and the underlying decrees and regulations. Transitional law also requires specialist knowledge of ‘how it is now’ and ‘how it will be’.

Witteveen+Bos’s noise and vibration consultants have the expertise to advise central government agencies (Rijkswaterstaat, ProRail), and decentralised authorities (province, municipality). Apart from the public sector, industry and developers will also have to deal with new central and decentralised noise regulations that may differ from one municipality to another. Our advice: stay on top of your business!

Tip of the iceberg

Below is a list of some of the drastic changes on which Witteveen+Bos can advise:

  • Simultaneously with the introduction of the Environment and Planning Act, the current Noise Calculation and Measurement Regulations 2012 will be amended. This will certainly lead to higher or lower calculated values in some cases. We can visualise the consequences of these varying values.
  • Municipalities must establish a Basic Noise Emission (BNE). The BNE must be based on representative traffic figures, and municipalities should make their strategic choices in delineating the BNE (physically and temporally). We can help you visualise these (strategic) choices, possibly in conjunction with other obligations (noise mapping, noise action plan) that will continue to apply under the Environment and Planning Act.
  • Provinces must set and comply with so-called noise production ceilings along provincial roads. Municipalities and developers must take noise production into account when developing plans along provincial roads. We have extensive experience in the process of establishing (and amending) and complying with noise production ceilings.
  • The noise restriction zones at industrial estates will be replaced by focus areas and noise production ceilings. For companies, it is important that licensed rights are properly (i.e. in a policy-neutral manner) included in this transition. The consideration of the available noise allowance and the consideration of ‘acceptable’ noise levels for residential areas (including the legalisation of new residential development sites) must be made within the Local Environment Plan. We are familiar with the roadmap for the transition and we can reconcile business and government interests.
  • When assessing the acceptability of cumulative noise from different source types, a municipality will have to justify itself more thoroughly to initiators and critical residents. This requires a more explicit and area-specific municipal noise policy. This applies especially to municipalities that have not yet adopted an area-specific noise policy. We can help municipalities translate existing noise policies and prepare new (area-specific) noise policies.
  • Identifying and assessing the acceptability of vibrations will have a more legally binding status under the Environment and Planning Act. This requires municipalities to make measured, decentralised interpretations to complement the decentralised rules. We have extensive knowledge and experience in measuring and assessing vibrations and know how to take them into account during the planning and implementation phases.

The above list is only the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous choices and consequences regarding cumulative effects and the assessment of health/living environment quality in relation to housing challenges, the monitoring of effects, noise effects around (military) airports, noise effects of temporary activities such as events, et cetera.

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