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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:

Spring Wood Lodge, Leeds

Further to the recent post about St Sidwell’s Point, we’ve also added Spring Wood Lodge to our list of example projects

Spring Wood Lodge, in Guisley, Leeds, provides a rehabilitation recovery centre for women over the age of 18 requiring an integrated treatment approach. The facility has a nine bed and a twelve bed ward and had permission for a new extension to include six bedrooms along with ensuites, lounge, nurse station, clinic, sluice, office, de-escalation room, bathroom and other ancillary and circulation spaces…

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St Sidwell’s Point, Exeter

WBM is pleased to include this project to our portfolio.
St Sidwell’s Point, Exeter

St Sidwell’s Point was commissioned by Exeter City Council and designed by S&P Architects integrated design team and is the UK’s first Passivhaus leisure centre. The £42M four-floor centre is located in Exeter city centre and accommodates three swimming pools, a 100 seat spectator area, three studios, a fitness gym, a large premium health and beauty spa (GAIA Spa), a crèche and a café, together with an external landscaped terrace on the upper floor overlooking the city…

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WBM Changes 2021 to 2022

Following our 50 year milestone as a partnership in April 2020, we have this year made the switch to a limited company and, despite the fallout from the pandemic, we continue to deliver our usual first class service, putting our clients at the heart of our business.

Life is nothing if not change and a number of changes have taken place in the last 12 months. Dr Paul Cockcroft has now joined the ranks of retired past Partners with Dr Angus Walker and Colin Beak.

We said goodbye to Hannah Karban at the end of March 2021, who relocated to be with her fiancée in East Anglia, and mid-year also a farewell to David Littlewood, our Graduate Consultant, who was seeking a technical laboratory / research based post.

Rachel Canham has driven forward the limited company status as Director of the business and Dr Richard Lyons is continuing with the business as the Principal Consultant, more than ably supported by Dr Robert Storey as Senior Consultant.

To keep up with our expanding workload we are very pleased to welcome three new members of staff this year. Sarah Large has joined WBM as Senior Consultant from MAS, bringing additional strength and breadth of knowledge to the team. Jack Semple has recently joined us as Graduate Consultant and is very keen to contribute to our growing portfolio of work.

In addition to the technical work, WBM are now supported on the management and administration side by Sheena Wells, who brings much experience from working within construction based companies to our business.

As we move into April, we feel poised for the next decade of continuing to provide a first class service to all our existing and new clients. We would like to thank you for continuing to use our services and for your excellent loyalty and trust, both in the past and into the future.

Changes to WBM April 2021

The Walker Beak Mason Partnership has been providing independent expert acoustic consultancy to our clients since 1970. With this 50 year milestone comes some changes to the people within WBM.

Dr Paul Cockcroft worked with the original partners Dr Angus Walker and Colin Beak from 1989, taking up the position of Partner in 1997 and becoming Senior Partner in 2004, with Rachel Canham and Dr Richard Lyons joining as Partners in 2009.

After 20 years of managing and driving the business forward Paul has decided to step down from his role as Senior Partner. Paul will continue to act as a consultant to WBM until he retires fully in April 2022, to provide continuity on projects.

Rachel and Richard will remain as Partners, to run the business, ably supported by Dr Robert Storey as Senior Consultant, continuing to provide the excellent consultancy service WBM is known for with specialised acoustic input to support your projects and businesses.

Other changes include saying goodbye to Hannah Karban at the end of March 2021, who has relocated to be with her fiancée near the East coast.

In April we appointed David Littlewood as our Graduate Consultant and welcome him to the team. David has a keen interest in all things acoustic and has recently completed his MSc in Acoustical Engineering at the University of Southampton.

WBM would not be what it was without the excellent clients that use our services and we take this opportunity to thank you all for your loyalty and trust. We look forward to providing you and all our clients with a first class service in the years ahead.

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.

Noise Mapping Focus

WBM utilises SoundPLAN noise mapping software for the modelling of Bloxham Road Noise Mappingindustrial and residential developments.

Using site plans and height data a three dimensional model of such developments can be created and the propagation of noise from numerous sources in the model can be calculated with reflections as well as ground and barrier attenuation taken into account.

SoundPLAN allows the use of a variety of calculation methods including ISO-9613, BS 5228, Calculation of Road Traffic Noise (CRTN) and the IOA Good Practice Guide for ETSU-97 for wind turbines among others.

Nackington Noise MappingThe results of the calculations can be displayed as a noise contour map or can be presented as tables of data for individual receiver locations with a breakdown of the contribution of the various sources and the calculated attenuation between source and receiver.

WBM has used SoundPLAN for the modelling of mining/quarrying operations, testing of road traffic noise barriers, rail noise, input into the design/layout of residential developments, the impact of road alterations, wind turbines, solar farms, industrial plant sites and M&E plant on commercial buildings.

Examples of our work in this area include:

West Kettering Residential Development
Input into the design/layout and phasing of the residential development to minimise the noise impact of the nearby dual carriageway (read more…)

Bloxham Road, Banbury
Assessment of the noise impact of changes to the road layout and alteration of the speed limit due to a new residential development.

Alpha Lake Ecological and Landscape Enhancements
Assessment of the noise impact on nearby residences and wildlife in the adjacent nature reserve of proposed shallowing of the lake by means of imported material.

Manor Farm Tetsworth Road Traffic Noise Bunding
Examining the effectiveness of proposed bunding between the property and the M40.

Aggregate Industries Bardon Hill Quarry Extension
Model of the ongoing activities on site and in a substantial extension area to accompany a planning application.

Nackington Solar Park
Examination of the noise impact on nearby residences of a proposed solar farm.

Foxhills Residential Development, Brackley
Assessment of the road traffic noise impact on a proposed residential development.

Napleton Lodge Wind Turbine
Noise assessment to support a planning application for the construction of a wind turbine near Raunds.

Odeon Farnham
Modelling of the noise levels due to the operation of M&E plant on the roof of a cinema.

HS2 Tunnel relocation
Modelled the noise implications of the relocation of a proposed tunnel for HS2 for a group of local residents.

London Borough of Hounslow School Expansion & Kingston Library in Milton Keynes

WBM is pleased to provide the following updates on two of our recent projects.

London Borough of Hounslow School Expansion
Hounslow Schools 1The London Borough of Hounslow and Pick Everard used WBM’s acoustic expertise to help them deliver the first phase of a multi-million pound expansion programme on ten primary and SEN schools between 2013 and 2015. The schools are in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport and exposed to elevated levels of aircraft noise. WBM provided the design team with professional architectural acoustic consultancy services from inception to completion of the projects (read more…)

Kingston Library 1Kingston Library in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Council commissioned WBM to carry out an acoustic assessment and testing of a new library in Milton Keynes. There are no mandatory acoustic standards for this type of building so WBM used appropriate performance requirements from guidance documents as design aims (read more…)

Vibration Focus

WBM provides professional advice and monitoring services for ground borne and structure borne vibration as well as the full range of noise consultancy services.

WBM has worked on a variety of projects requiring input regarding vibration, such as advising on minimising plant vibration, monitoring of vibration due to piling and construction activity and assessing the impact on sensitive premises/equipment of vibration from nearby industrial activity.

Vibration survey work conducted by WBM has included both short term attended sample measurements and longer term monitoring of ongoing site activity by means of installed vibration monitoring equipment.

Examples of our work in this area include:

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), London
WBM has acted for the BBFC since 2008 with regard to potential noise and vibration from the Crossrail project construction and operational activities in Soho Square, London including vibration disturbance affecting projector operation. WBM reviewed documents supplied to the BBFC by Crossrail and provided comments and recommendations. Appropriate noise and vibration management systems are now in place to minimise the impact at the BBFC of Crossrail construction activity.

Trocadero ResizedTrocadero Hotel & Cinema London
Consideration of noise and vibration limits for activity arising from construction of a hotel within the Trocadero Complex, measurement and review of mock-up demolition activity on site and advice on an existing cinema in the same Complex.

Siemens Data Centre Nottingham
Vibration tests for breaking out and removal of an external area of concrete slab located close to sensitive electronic data storage devices operating within the facility.

Electron Microscope Facility
Initial assessment for feasibility study for proposed electron microscope facility, review of acoustic criteria and advice on constructions and sound insulation.

Long term unattended vibration monitoring, with remote reporting and warning facility, near to dwellings arising from activity associated with demolition, piling activity and construction for a school on Canvey Island.

Grundon Materials Recycling Facility Banbury
Vibration measurements were taken adjacent to a new access road to a Materials Recycling Facility to determine the potential impact on vibration-sensitive equipment within an adjoining building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABolingbroke Academy London
Measurement of low frequency noise breakout from plant room to adjacent dwelling. Detailed advice on remedial measures, including isolation of plant items and relocation of plant room.

Cranfield University Plant Vibration
Inspection, vibration measurements and recommendations to assist Cranfield University in minimising perceptible levels of vibration on work surfaces in offices below roof top plant.

Odeon Cinemas Limited, Fort Kinnaird

Odeon Fort Kinnaird Project UpdateCongratulations to Odeon Cinemas Limited on completion of their new 7 screen multiplex cinema at Fort Kinnaird Shopping Centre, Edinburgh’s largest retail park located in a highly prominent position adjacent the Newcraighall junction of the A1.

WBM are delighted to have been involved with this project, providing Odeon’s Architects (McFarlane Latter) and design team with professional architectural acoustic consultancy services from inception to completion of the project in March 2015. (read more…)


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