The role of an expert witness is to provide the results of noise measurements, predictions and assessment, as required, in a form which is understandable to the decision maker (a planning inspector/reporter or judge) and, in the case of a planning appeal, to members of the public. He or she will also need to identify any discrepancies or errors in the noise evidence of the ‘other side’ and assist his/her own legal team with preparation of their case. He/she also needs to answer questions, which can be quite adversarial, from the other side’s legal team and, in the case of a planning appeal, members of the public.
In the case of a refusal of planning consent, the would-be developer may decide to appeal against the decision by the planning authority, or other body, which may, in turn, lead to a Public Inquiry or Public Hearing. In such cases, the developer and the planning authority may each need to appoint an 'expert witness' to prepare and present evidence on any noise issues arising from the proposal and to face cross-examination from the opposing side’s legal representative. At the highly contested Den Brook Wind Farm appeal we worked for the developer, Renewable Energy Systems, and at the controversial Lancashire Shale Gas Exploration site we worked for the planning authority, Lancashire County Council.
Following a decision by a planning authority, or following an appeal, there is opportunity for either side to contest the decision in court via a Judicial Review or Statutory Challenge, respectively. Where noise forms a significant part of this process expert evidence on noise, which we can provide, may be required. An example of our work in this area was in the case of Grieves vs Boston Borough Council.
In the case of alleged noise problems caused by an existing development, we can provide expert evidence, which will be required to be provided to the courts, on the existence or otherwise of a statutory nuisance.
There are also other occasions where an acoustics expert is required to give evidence in court, such as in cases of noise induced hearing loss from industrial noise exposure, disputes over the adequacy of sound insulation provided by party walls between premises, and where acoustics evidence is used in criminal proceedings. Our experienced noise consultants are able to guide you through this.
If you would like more information and advice, please contact us.
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