Construction site noise

 

Construction site noise

Each year, the council receives over 100 complaints from people affected by noise from construction sites. Environmental Health has enforcement powers to deal with excessive noise from construction sites. 

Legislation

The legislation concerning construction/renovation noise is the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (CoPA) and statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA).

In general, the times when the council regards construction as being acceptable in Milton Keynes, under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 is:

  • 8am-6pm Monday to Friday
  • 8am-1pm Saturday
  • No works on Sundays or Bank Holidays

The Act applies to works as follows:

(a) the erection, construction, alteration, repair or maintenance of buildings, structures or roads;

(b) breaking up, opening or boring under any road or adjacent land in connection with the construction, inspection, maintenance or removal of works;

(c) demolition or dredging work.

We often find that site operators are unaware of the problems they may be causing and once it is brought to their notice, they are only too happy to co-operate in taking action to deal with the problem. We recommend all operators of construction sites in Milton Keynes to join the Considerate Contractors Scheme and adhere to their Code of Considerate Practice.

Statutory nuisance

Someone undertaking a DIY project might do so of a weekend, which would be deemed ‘reasonable’ taking into consideration the duration of the works and time of day its being undertaken, so the council probably would not look to enforce the Control of Pollution Act timings in those instances. 

Statutory nuisance does not have rigid timings associated with it, that is to say there are no legally set times when noise can or cannot be created. If, however, someone is hammering in nails at midnight, that would be unreasonable to most people on any day, so likely to be a nuisance and actionable under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. To be fair and reasonable the council has to weigh up the frequency, intensity and duration of the noise to determine the impact and the likelihood of it being a statutory nuisance.

Reporting construction noise

Reporting construction noise

Section 61 applications

Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 allows developers and their building contractors to apply for ‘Prior Consent’ for noise generating activities during the demolition and construction phases of a development. 

The Control of Pollution Act 1974 gives local authorities powers to take action in relation to noise from construction work activities. Many construction activities are inherently noisy and impactful, and can cause disturbance to neighbours. We expect developers and principal contractors to use the best practicable means at all times and take all reasonable steps to control noise and minimise noise disturbance to nearby residents, and other building occupiers in the near vicinity.

Developers and contractors who are undertaking major works can apply to us for a Section 61 Consent to seek agreement to their proposals for controlling noise. This process is only used where significant noise disturbance is anticipated from a construction project, or the project has a long duration. If a Section 61 Consent is in place, the council cannot subsequently serve a Section 60 notice.

If developers or principal contractors do not apply for prior consent under Section 61 of the Act and commence works on site, should several complaints be received and substantiated, the council can serve a Notice under Section 60 of the Act.

The Section 60 notice will set the hours of working, terms and conditions that the developer or principal contractor must comply with. This could impact on the development schedule both in terms of time and cost.

Make an application

To make a Section 61 application, you must complete and return a prior consent form which can be found below.

Please return your completed form to EHNorth@milton-keynes.gov.uk

Completed forms should be submitted a minimum of 28 days before works commence on site.

After an application is made, the council can issue or refuse consent.