CoPA Consent to Noisy Works
The Control of Pollution Act (CoPA) gives local authorities powers in relation to noisy works on construction sites.
The HS2 Act does not remove these, although it has made subtle changes to the way in which CoPA related disagreements are resolved. If a dispute arises, then the final arbiter will be the Secretary of State rather than the courts.
Normally the Councils would have 28 days to consider a consent application, but this is not long enough for complicated applications. Consequently, through the petitioning process, the Councils have secured an undertaking that HS2 will engage early to seek agreement on provision of noise mitigation (e.g double glazing, temporary rehousing, hours of work, site screening, equipment to be used) to demonstrate that the “best practicable means” (BPM) for reducing noise from construction activities will be used.
During negotiations with others, Chiltern and South Bucks proposed an innovative “statement of expectations”, which was accepted by the promoters as a mutually beneficial way of managing construction noise impacts.
Following this a guidance document for HS2 contractors was written, which has become the process for negotiation on the Best Practicable Means. A risk based approach has been adopted.
Meetings continue to be held with the enabling work contractors to discuss programme and risk.
Activities are mostly concerning vegetation clearance, archaeological and ground investigation work. Where future noisy works may impact residents, risk assessments have been undertaken and appropriate action has been taken.
Ground investigation works are in progress in Chiltern and South Bucks, with works beginning at the Amersham vent shaft site.
Habitat creation near the site of the proposed Chalfont St Peter vent shaft is due to commence in November 2017.
Major works to construct the M25 slip roads have also started. The majority of these will be within Three Rivers District Council jurisdiction, with impacts for areas within Chiltern and South Bucks. Engagement with HS2 Ltd, Highways England and contractors are on-going, with contractor KIER submitting an application for consent to carry out noisy works on Shire Lane.