Services – Noise & Acoustics

Excessive environmental noise is recognised by the World Health Organisation as being detrimental to health, wellbeing and sleep.

Standards and guidelines exist to manage and control the encroachment of noise into our daily lives in order to protect residential amenity and sleep. These standards and guidelines, national and international, apply to new and existing and developments and activities , including industry, airports, railways, wind farms, roads, pubs and clubs, concerts, construction and more.

The acoustics department of MWP is experienced in the measurement and assessment of many different types environmental noise. A few examples of the numerous  environmental noise assessments are outlined below. MWP acoustics personnel  are qualified in the Measurement and Control and Noise, are members of the Institute of Acoustics, and have presented evidence as expert witness in Court and at Oral Hearings.

  • Industrial Noise Impact Assessment

Malachy Walsh and Partners carried out the environmental noise impact assessment for inclusion in the Environmental Impact Statement that accompanied the planning application for the extension of the Dairygold production facility in Mallow, Co Cork. The work included measuring the existing noise levels prior to the development, predicting the likely impact of the proposed development on the environment and designing attenuation measures to ensure appropriate noise levels are not exceeded once operational.

Noise levels were predicted using  industry standard computer software to build a simulation model of the existing and proposed development and associated noise emissions. This complex model included buildings, topography, ground cover, and plant and machinery, both mobile and stationary.

Throughout the detailed design phase advice was provided and the computer model updated to incorporate the necessary noise reduction measures including attenuators, barriers, and earth berms.

  • Wind Farm Noise Assessment

Malachy Walsh and Partners has completed the noise impact assessment for numerous wind farm developments across the country, including the 48 turbine  Strategic Infrastructure Development, Cluddaun Wind Farm in County Mayo.

The assessment included the extended measurement of the existing baseline noise environment and correlation with wind speed.  The proposed wind turbine candidates were reviewed and compared, and the noise immission levels from the wind farm were predicted at the nearest dwellings. The neighbouring 112 turbine development was included in the cumulative assessment.

Typical Noise Monitoring Set up

Malachy Walsh and Partners presented evidence at the Oral Hearing as expert witness on Noise.

Malachy Walsh and Partners has provided similar services to many renewable energy generation companies, including Coillte, Western Power, Bord Gais, Ecopower, SSE, and Element Power.

  • Waste and Emissions Licence Compliance Monitoring

Malachy Walsh and Partners has undertaken noise compliance measurements for many Waste and Emission Licensed clients, including Kerry County Council, Dairygold, and Mondelez in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Guidance Note on Noise from Scheduled Activities (NG4).

  • Noise Nuisance Investigation

MWP has undertaken noise nuisance investigations on behalf of clients with noisy neighbours, specifically licensed premises such as pubs and clubs. The work typically involves the measurement of the nuisance noise and comparison of the measured levels against recommended noise limits for such activities. MWP personnel have then on request presented the evidence in court.

  • Construction Noise and Vibration

In sensitive areas, conditions of planning typically include the monitoring of noise and vibration levels during the construction phase. MWP design Noise and Vibration Monitoring Programmes for inclusion in Construction and Environmental Management Plans. MWP has implemented such monitoring regimes for the construction phase of the Pairc Ui Chaoimh Re Development and the Expansion of the Dairygold facility in Mallow.

Examples of Unattended Construction Noise and Vibration Monitoring Stations

There are many options for construction phase monitoring, for example, in Mallow data was monitored continuously and accessed and downloaded remotely. This allows for the immediate review of noise levels and identification of potential noise problems for neighbours as they arise.

 Room Acoustics

MWP can assist with the internal design of rooms to ensure the appropriate  acoustic environment  for the space. Classrooms and spaces where speech intelligibility are important require low reverberation or echo effect. High reverberation in classrooms is proven to impact negatively on learning. Altering the reverberation in a room typically involves the placement of acoustic panels on hard surfaces within the space . MWP can calculate the amount of absorption required  and recommend products to ensure the internal acoustic environment is fit for purpose.

Source: Courtesy of Ecophon.

Occupational Noise

Chapter 1 of Part 5 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007) as amended from 12 November 2007 by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amended) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 732 of 2007) sets down the minimum requirements for the protection of workers from the health risks associated with noise in the workplace.

These regulations detail the daily noise exposure levels or peak sound pressure levels, which if exceeded for any employee require specified actions to be taken by the employer to reduce risk. MWP can undertake work place noise surveys and assessments and give practical guidance to employers on complying with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations.