Power company works to protect residents

The UK’s biggest electricity distributor is working with local authorities to help make sure new properties enjoy peaceful surroundings.

UK Power Networks is providing the 117 planning authorities in the communities it serves with free access to a range of data about where existing electricity substations are based.

Electrical transformers provide power to communities, and they emit a low frequency hum. If housing developers build near to these sites, they may need to provide noise screens and enclosures to avoid this disturbing future residents.

To help councils assess planning applications for new housing developments, UK Power Networks has measured sound levels at 53 grid and 76 primary substations to identify areas which could result in noise complaints if developers were to build on land in their immediate vicinity.

The noise mapping project means planning and environmental health departments are aware of any potential issues before they arise. Developers can work with UK Power Networks to find the best solutions around brownfield sites.

Stephen Ninham, Lead Environment Advisor for UK Power Networks, says: “When land use around changes, the low frequency noise from any existing infrastructure can be an issue for residents of new properties, so this work with local authorities sets out to address that concern.

“We want to work closely with planners and developers so that they have full visibility of any potential noise problems that new housing may bring, long before they are even built, and the right mitigation can be funded and put in place.

“Our open data portal is a fantastic resource which shows noise contours around each substation giving a guide to sound levels that need to be factored in by developers. This is one way we can help new developments become successful, and that future residents can look forward to peaceful new homes.”

Rebecca Brooks, Environmental Health Officer at East Suffolk Council, says: “I think that this will be a very useful resource for both local authorities and developers alike.  UK Power Networks is providing support through information and webinar sessions which are particularly useful, and I have personally found very interesting.”

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