Joined-up thinking?

Aren’t we all supposed to be reducing energy use? If so, wouldn’t it be best to avoid sanctioning new development which relies on mechanical ventilation whenever and wherever possible? The reason we ask is that a recent appeal decision against the refusal of outline permission for two flats in Yorkshire appears to highlight a lack of joined-up thinking in the application of planning policy (DCS Number 400-019-524).

The appeal site in this case was within one metre of an industrial coach depot. The planning application was supplemented with a noise impact assessment which recommended that a ventilation system with a minimum attenuation of 23.1 decibels within habitable rooms was installed. The suggested systems for mitigation comprised either trickle ventilation or mechanical ventilation. The council asserted that the use of trickle ventilation was not considered to provide sufficient levels of ventilation for residential properties, but the inspector noted that she had been presented with no reasons why this was the case. She considered that both options would provide suitable ventilation and saw no reasons why either method could not be employed, deciding that the matter could be satisfactorily conditioned.

Concluding that the development would provide sufficient living conditions for future residents, the inspector found compliance with development plan policies which sought to deliver suitably located development that provided a quality setting for development and had no significant detrimental impact on the amenity of prospective users. She also found no conflict with the Framework which advises that development should be appropriate for its location, by avoiding noise giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and the quality of life.

That might be so, and we are no engineering experts here on the Blog, but how does the use of mechanical ventilation square with sustainability objectives in relation to energy use?

Further examples of appeals where noise from industrial and commercial sources was an issue can be found at section 4.1614 of DCP Online.