Noise pollution warning as building sites stay open longer
PUBLISHED: 14:15 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:15 19 May 2020
Noise experts are warning that there will be potential noise nuisance implications after the government lifted time restrictions on building sites during the coronvirus lockdown.
Acoustic barrier manufacturer Echo Barrier – which is based at Bury St Edmunds – said construction firms need to ensure the health of neighbouring residents after a government decision to allow sites to stay open until 9pm from Monday to Saturday.
The move would cause “a huge amount” of additional noise pollution, it warned.
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Standard operating hours of building sites across the UK is 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm on Saturday.
Housing secretary said the measure would allow building sites to continue working while abiding by social distancing rules during the coronavirus crisis.
But Echo Barrier estimated that the new guidelines would generate an additional 23 hours of noise per week – a 42% rise.
Director Peter Wilson warned companies choosing to work later should understand the health implications and to do all they can to protect workers and nearby residents.
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“Although the new guidelines are favourable to construction companies, the additional noise pollution being created will wreak havoc on those at the receiving end,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, it is vital for these companies to ensure they are doing all they can to reduce the amount the noise from building work.
“A power drill could drum up 130 decibels (dB) of noise when used, but the threshold of your hearing becoming damaged over time is 85dB.
“Therefore continued exposure to noise of this level can cause a wide range of physical health problems including hearing impairment, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
“It can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health, including heightened anxiety and depression.”
It was “imperative” that businesses take the concerns on board and do “everything they can” to ensure the safety and protection of those affected.
“This can include providing workers with noise cancelling headphones or erecting temporary acoustic barriers which can e used to shield the site from the surrounding area,” he said.
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