Policy ENV 13: Aircraft noise

The 2019 summer (mid-June to mid-September) average mode daytime LAeq,16-hour (07:00-23:00) noise contours published by Manchester Airport, as shown on the policies map, will be used for the purposes of planning application decision making until the number of air transport movements is equal or greater than that for 2019. The noise mitigation to achieve the requirements set out in the policy must assume the noise levels shown by these contours.

  1. Dwellings (houses, flats, bungalows and maisonettes):
    1. Planning permission for new dwellings will not normally be granted within areas subject to aircraft noise levels above the Significant Observed Adverse Effect Level (SOAEL) footnote 7.
    2. Planning permission for new dwellings will be granted in areas subject to daytime aircraft noise levels between the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level (LOAEL) footnote 8 and the SOAEL(footnote 7) where it is demonstrated by the applicant that:
      1. the internal ambient noise levels under summertime conditions with windows closed (and with the necessary ventilation to prevent overheating and ensure good indoor air quality) shall not exceed the levels set out in BS8233:2014 (or any successor to this standard), which are repeated in the table below. The application should demonstrate that the acoustic design of the proposed development will achieve the below indoor ambient noise levels and has been developed in combination with ventilation and overheating strategies. The application should maximise natural ventilation, avoid overheating, minimise sound pollution and have good air quality in accordance with Policy H1 of the National Design Guide and avoid a situation where occupants would have to choose between good internal ambient noise levels and thermal comfort or good indoor air quality, footnote 9; and

        Indoor ambient noise levels for dwellings
        ActivityLocation07:00 to 23:0023:00 to 07:00
        Resting Living room 35 dB LAeq,16hour -
        Dining Dining room/area 40 dB LAeq,16hour -
        Sleeping (daytime resting) Bedroom 35 dB LAeq,16hour 30 dB LAeq,8 hour
      2. across private gardens and balconies, a reasonable proportion - typically comprising a sitting out area that is intended to be used for relaxation and that forms an intrinsic part of the overall scheme - is designed to achieve the lowest practicable noise level. In higher noise areas, applicants should aim not to exceed an upper guideline level of 55 dB LAeq,16hour including through noise mitigation measures.
    3. Given that individual noise events can also cause sleep disturbance, where average mode summer night noise levels exceed 48 dB LAeq,8hour, planning permission will only be granted where applicants can demonstrate that a commensurate level of protection can be provided so that a maximum sound level of 45 dB LAF,max in bedrooms during the summer (mid-June to mid-September) will not normally be exceeded more than ten times during a night (23:00 to 07:00). Typical aircraft LAF,max noise levels may be determined either by a noise survey over a representative period (typically a number of weeks) or by noise modelling, in line with a methodology that should be first agreed with the council so that the application is based on suitable noise data.
    4. Applications for sites affected by aircraft noise should be accompanied by a noise impact assessment. The noise assessment should highlight any noise mitigation measures and demonstrate:
      1. a good acoustic design process;
      2. that the indoor ambient noise levels set out in Criterion 1(ii)(a) will be achieved;
      3. that the external noise levels set out in Criterion 1(ii)(b) will be achieved; and
      4. any other relevant issues (e.g. how the acoustic design will avoid unintended adverse consequences on indoor air quality and overheating).
  2. Hotels and rooms for residential purposes (including student halls of residence, school boarding houses and hostels): The requirement for achieving acceptable internal ambient noise levels (including for individual noise events) due to external noise ingress is the same as for dwellings. There are no requirements in respect of noise levels within external amenity areas.
  3. Hospices and residential care homes: The requirement for achieving acceptable internal ambient noise levels (including for individual noise events) due to external noise ingress is the same as for dwellings. Due to the potential for residents of such developments to have difficulties with their hearing and limited mobility, schemes must incorporate easily accessible external amenity areas that are subject to noise levels at or below 55 dB LAeq,16hour.
  4. Educational development: Planning permission will normally only be granted for schools and nursery schools if suitable noise control measures to achieve the internal noise levels set out in BB93: Acoustic design of schools - performance standards (or any successor) are demonstrated.
  5. Healthcare development: Planning permission will normally only be granted for hospitals and other medical facilities with accommodation for patients if suitable noise control measures to achieve the internal noise levels set out in ‘Table 1 Criteria for noise intrusion from external sources’ of Health Technical Memorandum 08-01: Acoustics (or any successor) are demonstrated.
  6. Other noise sensitive development: Planning permission will normally only be granted where the applicant demonstrates that the internal ambient noise levels will be suitable for the intended use.

Supporting information

4.82  This policy seeks to avoid significant adverse aircraft noise impacts on health and quality of life, and adequately mitigate and minimise adverse impacts on health and quality of life.

4.83  Under normal circumstances, the application of this policy would be based on the latest available summer-time noise contours published annually by Manchester Airport. This is to make the policy reactive to changes in aircraft noise over time, due to factors such as growth in air transport movements and potential reductions in noise from individual aircraft due to technological improvements. However, the coronavirus situation since March 2020 has radically reduced the number of air transport movements into and out of Manchester Airport and it may be several years before movements return to pre-coronavirus levels again. Under these circumstances it is necessary to adopt the 2019 noise contours instead, which are the latest ones available prior to the advent of coronavirus, to prevent decisions being made based on atypically low aircraft noise levels. The policy allows the noise contours for a future year to be used when the number of air transport movements return to, or exceed, that recorded in 2019. The council will liaise with Manchester Airport to monitor this and will publicise through the local plan pages on its website and in the Authority Monitoring Report when this position is reached.

4.84  Planning Practice Guidance advises that for noise sensitive developments, mitigation measures can include avoiding noisy locations in the first place; designing the development to reduce the impact of noise from adjoining activities or the local environment; incorporating noise barriers; and optimising the sound insulation provided by the building envelope. It also advises that care should be taken when considering mitigation to ensure the envisaged measures do not make for an unsatisfactory development.

4.85  It is recommended that an Acoustic Design Statement be prepared in accordance with ProPG to demonstrate good acoustic design with a focus on Element 2 – observing internal noise level guidelines. If relying on closed windows to meet the internal noise levels, the application would need to demonstrate how an appropriate alternative method of ventilation will be achieved that does not compromise the facade thermal insulation, summertime internal temperatures or the resulting noise level. There should be consistency between the method of ventilation (and operating mode) assumed for acoustic calculations, and the method of ventilation assumed for thermal analysis (especially overheating). For example, if the acoustic strategy relies upon closed windows then these conditions should also be adopted for the thermal analysis.

Related documents

(Footnote 7SOAEL is currently considered to be 63 dB LAeq,16hour (07:00 -23:00).

(Footnote 8LOAEL is currently considered to be 54 dB LAeq,16hour (07:00 -23:00).

(Footnote 9) The Acoustics, Ventilation and Overheating Residential Design Guide published by the Association of Noise Consultants provides advice to designers on adopting an integrated approach to the acoustic design within the context of the ventilation and thermal comfort requirements. 

Policy information


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