The Noise Abatement Society fully understands the aspiration to reduce the volume of national policy statements from over 1,000 pages. However, noise is a complex area where Planning Policy Guidance Note 24 ‘Planning and Noise’ has stood the test of time since 1994. PPG24 strikes a good balance, commanding a high degree of confidence and consensus, and its principles are widely understood. The costs of changing technical criteria should not be underestimated. Although predating the strongest push towards land use mixing and higher development densities, PPG24 has in practice allowed sufficient flexibility. Good acoustic environments support development, rather than blocking it.
Given current resource constraints, PPG24 should be kept operative until a broadly-based working party has fully considered the scope and content of new technical guidance on planning and noise, and produced something which is demonstrably better than PPG24. The work should include emerging understanding on soundscape quality. NAS would be keen to participate in this working party, which should include the key professional organization, the Institute of Acoustics, and key academics from universities such as Sheffield and Salford.