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Construction, demolition and street works

  • Construction site in the City
    Construction site in the city

Minimising environmental impacts

Intensive development activity in the City can have significant noise and air quality impacts which can affect the health and wellbeing of City businesses, residents and other sensitive premises (eg schools and hospital).

The main environmental impacts are noise, vibration and dust. Contractors will always be expected to have considered noise and dust impacts related to their operations and to use Best Practicable Means (BPM) to minimise them, eg adjust working times, consider use of quieter methods. 

Liaison with neighbours likely to be affected by works is an essential element of BPM which must be considered. 

Detailed guidance and requirements, including liaising with neighbours have been developed and are contained in two separate Codes of Practice available as downloads:  

Planning consent conditions often require approval by the Planning Department of a ‘scheme of protective works’ to control noise, vibration and dust impacts, based on the City of London code of practice above.  Chapter 2 of the Construction code of practice provides guidance on what schemes of work should address; the guidance requirements are proportional to the likely impact risk.

City of London's Pollution Control Team will work to achieve flexible solutions for contractors, residents and businesses. Contact with the Pollution Control Team at an early stage of construction or street works projects is essential to discuss proposals and reduce risks of project delays.

Tel 020 7606 3030, or email publicprotection@cityoflondon.gov.uk.

Complaints about excessive noise disturbance if found to be justified or a nuisance may result in formal enforcement action including restricting working hours.

Working hours

If no-one is disturbed by noisy works or if work is not noisy, then extended hours or even 24 hour working can take place.  Where residents or businesses are likely to be disturbed then time restrictions or noise, requirements to minimise impacts will usually apply.

If residents are likely to be disturbed by noise, the permitted times of operation, including ancillary activities such as deliveries, will be restricted to standard hours:

  • 8am - 6pm (Monday to Friday);
  • 8am - 1pm (Saturday);
  • No working is permitted on Sundays, bank holidays or other national holidays.

If businesses are likely to be disturbed by noise during the standard hours or if justified complaints from businesses are received, the permitted times of operation, may be further restricted during city quiet hours:

  • 10am - 12noon (Monday to Friday);
  • 2pm - 4pm (Monday to Friday).

Businesses relying on lunchtime trade may also be protected from excessive noise.

During city quiet hours noise generating activities, eg percussive breakers, cutting using power tools and noisy machinery, will not usually be permitted. Hours may also be adjusted for retail businesses relying on lunchtime trade.

Noisy work proposed outside standard hours or during quiet hours

Works proposed outside the standard hours or during City quiet hours can be undertaken with the written prior approval from the Pollution Control Team, which may be subject to conditions. 

  Applications for approval must be made a minimum of five (5) working days prior to work commencing. Download and complete an application form: site hours variation request sheet (28KB) and submit it to publicprotection@cityoflondon.gov.uk , or contact the Pollution Control Team directly for advice.

  In certain locations in the City, where noisy street works are proposed, no formal prior consent is required for noisy works between 6.00pm and 11.00pm. Please see the Department of Built Environment for further details of the ‘extended hours permitting’ scheme.

Liaison with neighbours

The scope of the Scheme and extent of liaison will be site dependent, having regard to the scale of works and the potential for disruption to neighbours. Detailed guidance on determining site ‘risk’ category and the resulting liaison expectations for projects are provided in Chapter 2 of the Construction code of practice.

Street works summary (see Code (93 KB) for full guidance):

  • Minor works (1-3 days): 24 Hours (1 working day) verbal prior notice to premises occupiers likely to be disturbed; effective complaints procedure, information display board with contact information.
  • Standard / Major Works (4-10 >10 days): 3 working days written prior notice to premises occupiers likely to be disturbed; effective complaints procedure; display board; for Major works a liaison and consultation plan required.
  •   For work outside standard or quiet hours – liaison to be agreed as part of prior approval process.  
  •   Premises occupiers to be notified : this will depend on the location and time of works, type of noisy activity, sensitivity of noise receptors, duration of work, location of windows or doors within building facades and whether these are opened frequently, and the internal layout of receptor’s premises. The impact will vary according to each site and job and therefore will need to be individually assessed to determine the extent of liaison required.
  • For most types of noisy street work, liaison should take place with all premises occupiers who are within 50m and conduct activities which could be disturbed by intended works; building reception areas, lunch time retail premises, residential premises and medical / therapy settings may be particularly sensitive.
  • Where works are proposed to be carried out outside ‘standard’ or ‘quiet hours’ the above liaison arrangements may not apply and arrangements will need to be reassessed and agreed with the Pollution Team as part of the prior approval (‘Variation’) process.
  • City of London Pollution Team can be contacted to provide advice and local knowledge.

Mobile cranes

Prior to any activity commencing which requires mobile cranes or mobile plant, a mobile crane authorisation notice  (25 KB) must be completed and forwarded to the Pollution Control Team for approval BEFORE the ‘traffic appointment’ is held with the City of London Highways team.

Air quality

The ‘Scheme of Protective Works’ submitted to protect neighbours should include the identification of activities which could adversely affect air quality.

This assessment should include a methodology laying out details of, and controls over, all relevant activities which may affect air quality.

The scheme should consider the entire lifetime of the project and sequence of works, and consider details to minimise the site’s impact on air quality such as vehicle type and movements, the water supply for the site (for dust mitigation), plans to deal with debris and specific areas to be encapsulated etc.

To reduce air pollution in the City, the construction and deconstruction industry is expected to employ, as a minimum, all methods listed below. The requirements are in line with the Greater London Authority and London Councils Best Practice Guide for Controlling Dust and Emissions from Construction and Demolition, November 2006 (soon to be revised, at which time, regard should be had to the newest document).

  • Ensuring that fumes and/or dust do not escape from the site to affect members of the public and the surrounding environment;
  • Burning of materials on site is not permitted under any circumstances;
  • Dusty activity should be undertaken away from sensitive receptors, with wind direction taken into consideration;
  • The site should be regularly inspected for spillages of cement and other powders which should be removed to prevent off-site deposition;
  • Dusty material and activities should be dampened down in dry weather. The use of groundwater should be investigated and water should be reused wherever possible.
  •   All sites should be screened / wrapped to prevent offsite dust deposition;
  • Rubber chutes should be used and drop heights minimised;
  • Scabbling should be done off site and will not generally be allowed in the City due to the amount of dust generated;
  • Off-site fabrication, or cutting to size, shall be employed to avoid cutting materials on site whenever possible; and
  • Careful consideration should be given to the location and temperature control of tar and asphalt burners.

All Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) should meet Stage IIIB emission criteria, unless it can be demonstrated that Stage IIIB equipment is not available. If Stage IIIB equipment is not available, NRMM must be fitted with particle traps and / or catalytic exhaust treatment wherever possible. An inventory of all NRMM must be kept on site and all machinery should be regularly serviced and service logs kept on site for inspection. Records should be kept on site which details proof of emission limits for all equipment.

The use of generators to provide electricity on site should be avoided wherever possible.

Further details are contained in the City Construction code of practice (1.54MB).


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