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Control of noise and vibration on construction sites

We have recently seen a significant increase in the use by local authorities of notices and prosecutions under Section 60 & 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (COPA) in relation to noise and vibration from construction sites.

Last updated in November 2018

This enforcement option exists in addition to the statutory nuisance regime under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA), and is generally preferred by local authorities when looking to manage noise issues on construction sites.

It is important for developers and contractors to be aware of the circumstances in which formal action can be taken by local authorities, so that measures are included in construction plans at an early stage to mitigate such impacts and proportionate steps can be taken to avoid the service of statutory notices and enforcement proceedings.

This briefing summarises: 

  • The powers afforded to local authorities under COPA and the EPA in relation to construction sites;
  • The circumstances in which a Section 60 Notice under COPA or an abatement notice under the EPA may be served and our experience of how these are used;
  • How applications for prior consent for works can be made under Section 61 of COPA and the impact of breaching a Section 61 Consent;
  • Steps that can be taken if your company is prosecuted and defences available; and
  • Practical steps companies can take to reduce noise and vibration on construction sites.

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