Baseline noise measurements to inform claims under the Land Compensation Act
A new road development, such as the M6 toll road, can cause a significant number of claims under the Land Compensation Act whereby compensation may be payable where the value of an interest in land is depreciated by physical factors caused by the use of public works including 'any highway'. Physical factors may include noise so it is important, in such cases, to be able to accurately quantify the change in noise environment caused by the introduction of the new road.
We were commissioned by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at Southampton University, who were in turn contracted by Midland Expressway, who designed, built, operate and maintain the 27 miles of the route, to carry out monitoring of pre-construction noise levels because of our acknowledged expertise in the acquisition, processing and presentation of a large amount of recorded baseline noise data. ISVR staff identified 50 broad areas at which baseline data was required following which we established monitoring locations, mostly in residential gardens, to acquire the relevant data over a two week period at each one.
The data was acquired over a rolling programme of installations lasting 10 weeks and including permanent noise and meteorological monitoring at one location including wind speed and direction measurements at 10 metres height. This meteorological monitoring allowed the data to be divided into sectors showing the noise environment for each of a number of wind directions which, at some locations, were a highly significant factor in the existing noise environment where it was dominated by transportation noise from a specific direction
A pro-active approach to possible claims under the Land Compensation Act led to a comprehensive database of preconstruction noise levels in areas close to the route of the M6 toll road which was then known as the Birmingham Northern Relief Road. This ensured a fair approach to the assessment of the change in noise levels in specific areas caused by the new road. It should be noted that noise levels due to new road development may go down as well as up where traffic is taken off local roads and put onto more distant by-passes or trunk roads.
Further details can be found on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M6_Toll