Important Noise Impact Ruling Changes Affecting UK Business

By Stuart Jessop

Published on June 24, 2016

Changes made to the Class O of the Town & Country Planning order 2015 that came into effect in April 2016 will mean that planning authorities will now have to take noise impact from existing businesses into consideration when it comes to new residents and new residential developments.

Changes have been made in recent years that have allowed some developments to continue without the need to go through the full planning process. However, the new regulation now means that developers have to gain noise impact approval before they change an office to a residential building.

Proposals submitted by developers that include a request to use permitted development rights in order to convert offices to flats are not susceptible to planning permission. The new regulations come with the introduction of noise impact from current commercial uses on proposed new flats which means that an assessment will be carried out before the developer can exercise the permitted rights.

This means that developers will now have to prove that residential proposals that will be sensitive to noise will not be exposed to noise from current licensed premises. If there could be noise impact issues then construction methods used to reduce the noise will have to be approved.

For many, this is great news because it now protects venues from being inundated with complaints about the noise.

Will this change to the planning process have an effect? This could come down to timing because in the past, licenses have been threatened with review because of noise experienced by residents nearby. Therefore, the best way to deal with the potential issues is to have the developer deal with any potential noise problems when carrying out noise reduction works during the building of the development.

There is a possibility that the changes to the current permitted development rights could help. Class O includes the permitted development right when it comes to converting office(s) into residential units. Therefore, the developer is required to submit an application to the local authority asking whether they will have to receive prior approval. If it impacts things such as transport, highways, flooding and contamination, then it has to be considered. From the 6th April, noise from commercial premises and the impact that it has on those who may occupy the development will have to be taken into consideration. This means that operators will be able to demonstrate before the approval applications as well as making the council aware of the potential noise problems.

So, the issue surrounding the noise that comes from your premises will have to be handled by the developer and this means that an impact assessment will have to take place. Therefore, the introductions of these new regulations are seen as positive changes to the planning law.

The Author

Stuart Jessop is an experienced barrister, specialising in Regulatory Law and in particular in the following areas; Licensing, Food Law, Planning and environmental enforcement and health and safety law. Stuart regularly advises and represents individuals, companies, local authorities and other regulatory authorities and appears in proceedings in tribunals, civil and criminal courts and the appellate courts.

To learn more, please visit

Article picture: SPOTSOFLIGHT via Pixabay


Law & Philosophy