25th July 2023
Understanding Noise Regulations: Compliance and Legal Requirements in the UK
Author: Wakefield Acoustics – Noise Control Specialists | Last Updated: July 2023
Noise pollution is a significant concern across the UK, impacting the well-being of individuals and the environment. To tackle this issue, legislation and guidelines are in place in order to protect the quality of life for the public and workforce alike.
At Wakefield Acoustics we understand the importance of industrial noise control solutions such as acoustic enclosures, acoustic screens and acoustic containers. For businesses, getting to grips with the regulations will provide peace of mind that you are doing your duty to protect your employees and the quality of life for your neighbours.
For workers and employers, the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 are in place across the UK. These regulations aim to protect employees from excessive noise exposure in the workplace. Under these codes, employers are legally obligated to assess and control the risks related to noise in the workplace.
The regulations specify the following legal requirements:
The effects of environmental noise on health is an area of continued development and research, with varied types of noise ‘sources’ creating the potential for disturbance including transportation and industrial noise, and more latterly, wind farms. In fact, as recently as January 2023, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee launched a new inquiry into the impacts of artificial light and noise on human health, and the WHO issued a series of Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region in 2019.
These guidelines also sit alongside other UK policies including the Environmental Noise Regulations, Noise Policy Statements and the Environmental Protection Act. For the assessment of industrial noise on the surrounding areas, BS4142 is commonly used, as are the Observed Effect Levels (NOEL – no effect, LOAEL – lowest observed effect level, SOAEL – significant observed effect levels).
Understanding and complying with noise regulations is crucial for both employers and operators of premises in the UK. By adhering to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and environmental noise regulations, businesses can protect the hearing health of their employees and reduce noise pollution in the surrounding areas.
This blog post provides an overview of noise regulations in the UK up until 2022. It is not intended as legal advice, and readers should consult relevant laws, regulations, and legal professionals for specific guidance.
Wakefield Acoustics has extensive experience in providing bespoke solutions for general industrial applications: