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Environment Agency ‘Method implementation document’ for BS 4142

Environment Agency ‘Method implementation document’ for BS 4142

The Environment Agency has published a ‘Method implementation document’ (MID) about BS 4142:2014+A1:2019 (BS 4142). This document sets out the Environment Agency’s requirements for BS 4142 assessments that are submitted for a new permit or varying an existing permit

The MID was published in March 2023 and updated in December 2023.

Part of the Environment Agency requirements are that the background sound must not include existing site sounds. During noise measurements, all site activities should be reduced where they no longer contribute to the background level and where they cannot be heard at the measurement location. The background sound level must not include any sound from the site.

This can be problematic for existing sites with current operations. The Environment Agency suggest that the site temporarily stops any noisy operations, or the use of a surrogate monitoring location (with justification).

In addition, the Environment Agency requires the BS 4142 assessment to consider all sound from a site, not just the new or increased portion.

WBM has undertaken many BS 4142 assessments for sites seeking new or varied permits, providing information to comply with the Environment Agencies requirements.

The links for the MID, and also for the noise and vibration requirements for environmental permits are provided on WBM’s website, see:

New versions of BREEAM and WHO Guidelines 2018

WHO Guidelines 2018

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe has published the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region (2018) as a regional update and to provide an important replacement of the 1999 Guidelines.  The main purpose of the 2018 guidelines is to provide updated recommendations for protecting human health from exposure to environmental noise from transportation, wind turbine and leisure sources, based on recent research.

WBM is attending an Institute of Acoustics conference in January 2019 to keep up to date and be involved in the discussions about the implications of this important WHO document.

In the meantime, our summary of the WHO 2018 guidelines is available here: WBM WHO 2018 Summary Nov 2018

A full version of the 181-page document is available here:

A shorter, 8-page Executive Summary of the 2018 guidelines is available here:


BREEAM New Construction has been updated from 2014 to 2018 for the UK. The issues relevant to acoustics are Hea 05 Acoustic Performance and Pol 05 Reduction of Noise Pollution.

Hea 05 Acoustic Performance ensures that the new building is capable of providing an appropriate acoustic environment for users. Up to 4 credits are available for residential institutions and up to 3 credits are available for other building types.  The credits are awarded when a building meets the appropriate acoustic performance standards and testing requirements for sound insulation, indoor ambient noise level and room acoustics.

For Pol 05 Reduction of Noise Pollution, 1 credit is available for avoiding or reducing the impact of external noise arising from fixed installations from the new development on nearby noise sensitive buildings.

WBM can provide assistance on BREEAM assessments for Hea 05 and Pol 05 for the 2018 or earlier versions of the document.

ADE 2015 & BB93

Building Regulations Approved Document E amended 06 April 2015.

There is now an Amended Approved Document to support the following requirement of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010:


See: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_AD_E_2015.pdf

The main change made by the 2015 amendment, which is in force from 6 April 2015, is an update to the reference to standards for schools. This is stated in Section 8.0 of the document, where it no longer refers to Section 1.0 of the 2003 version of BB93, but now refers to “Building Bulletin 93. Acoustic Design of Schools: performance standards”.

There is no document date stated and therefore the most recent version applies, which is currently version 17 (February 2015) as noted in WBM Technical Update 12 February 2015.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bb93-acoustic-design-of-schools-performance-standards

The application and consequences of these documents are at an early stage and we would be happy to discuss the potential implications for any of your projects.

Technical Update

We thought that the following quick review of three recently published technical documents relating to acoustics would be useful.

A revision of British Standard BS 4142 “Methods for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound” was published at the end of October 2014 and replaced the 1997 edition. The 2014 edition clarifies the use of the standard and includes good practice for reducing uncertainty. The execution of its provisions will be entrusted to appropriately qualified and experienced people to inform decisions made by other professionals.

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment produced “Guidelines for Environmental Noise Impact Assessment” in October 2014. The guidelines define core methods and techniques, used within the noise impact assessment process, relevant to all types and size of development. The guidelines present current good practice methods and procedures to assist in determining the degree of significance of the potential noise impact from a proposal.

With regard to schools, the much awaited replacement to Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) 2003 “Acoustic Design of Schools” has emerged, with version 17 (February 2015) the latest. The acoustic performance requirements in the latest BB93 are broadly similar to the 2003 edition although there are differences, some of which are outlined below:

  • More stringent performance requirements for children with special hearing and/or communication needs
  • Rain noise now requires assessment
  • Performance values are provided for refurbishment as well as new build

The application and consequences of these documents are at an early stage and we would be happy to discuss the potential implications for any of your projects.

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