New Developments in Noisy Areas made Easier

Hounslow Council demands amendments to planning policy to protect residents from noise

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Hounslow Council has expressed concerns that the publication of a recent Government document could see pressure from developers to build in areas of the borough most affected by noise from Heathrow Airport.

The Draft National Planning Policy Framework consultation is part of Government plans to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, and to promote sustainable growth.

Local Authorities in the UK currently have the power to control potential noise sources and limit noise exposure to residents. The current framework gives Hounslow Council guidance on what sorts of development are acceptable in noisy areas.

However the council points out that the new document omits any clear guidance on building new developments in noisy areas, and has urged the Government to firm up its stance on noise within the policy.

 The council wrote to the Government and demanded an amendment, or to keep existing policy on noise, as part of the Communities and Local Government consultation that ended on October 17.

 The publication of the completed report is due in the New Year.

Cllr Corinna Smart, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for environment said:

 “Our borough is most directly affected by noise from Heathrow, and one of the noisiest places in Europe, being located on the flightpath of Europe’s busiest airport. To think that this has not been taken into consideration in the Government’s planning policy is astounding.

 “Currently we have the power to stop developments in the noisiest areas to protect residents from its harmful effects, notably residents’ health and mental health. Under the draft policy this had completely been omitted.

 “We are all for developing the borough, but we are best placed to know that it’s simply inhumane to expect people to live and work in the areas most affected by aircraft noise.

 “We await the final document, but residents can be assured that we have made a case for ensuring that developers don’t build in areas where people would be most adversely affected by Heathrow.”

November 4, 2011

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