ADD2087 London Noise Strategy Development

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
14 March 2017
Decision by: 
Tim Steer, Head of Transport

Executive summary

The Greater London Authority is currently developing an integrated London Environment Strategy (LES) with plans for public consultation in Spring/Summer 2017. Noise is a key component of this strategy, which will update the current noise strategy document, Sounder City, published in 2004. In addition, the GLA is drafting a new London Plan, including noise as a component of Aviation Policy.

The Greater London Authority does not have internal expertise on noise; therefore the Transport Team needs a consultant to assist in reviewing, developing and drafting relevant noise policies and related materials. This information will not only support the forthcoming London Environment Strategy, but also the noise components of the draft London Plan’s Aviation Policy.

Due to their background in the project, it is recommended that Extrium is procured through single source for the remaining consultancy work.  This Assistant Director Decision seeks approval to spend £25,000 on this consultancy.


That the Head of Transport approves:

•    The expenditure of £25,000 to commission drafting of noise policies as part of the wider integrated London Environment Strategy (LES) and noise aspects of the draft London Plan Aviation policy.
•    The recommendation to commission Extrium through a single source tender for continued work on noise policy and strategy for London

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Mayor is required under Section 370 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 to prepare and publish a London Ambient Noise Strategy, documenting ambient noise levels and establishing policy to reduce ambient noise and mitigate against excessive ambient noise levels. The current document, Sounder City, was published in 2004 and ran until 2016.

In 2011, the Localism Act came into effect, which requires the Mayor to produce a single Environment Strategy. The GLA is currently developing an integrated London Environment Strategy (LES), which will bring all relevant environment strategies into a single, coherent document. Content which renews information from the London Ambient Noise Strategy is intended to form part of the LES. The draft strategy is planned to be out for public consultation in Spring/Summer 2017. In addition, the GLA is drafting a new London Plan, including noise as a component of Aviation policy. 

In lieu of an internal noise specialist, the GLA has previously outsourced for technical noise projects, policy and advice. There are very few noise specialists available in London. Of those available, many noise specialists have previously, or continue to, represent airports and so conflicts of interest prevent them from working for the GLA. Extrium is one of the few consultancies that has no such conflict of interest. 

In order to commission a full London Ambient Noise Strategy to be completed within the timescale of the SES, Extrium were commissioned to conduct an initial scoping exercise for the project in January 2016. This required Extrium to conduct a review of existing policy, assess the existing evidence base to support a new strategy, and present and assess potential policies to be included in the final strategy.

In January 2017, Extrium was commissioned to by the GLA Transport Team to further build on the work completed in the scoping project. Extrium were required to identify objectives, policies and proposals for inclusion in the upcoming London Environment Strategy (LES).
The Transport Team seek to procure Extrium under a single source process as the consultant for further work due to their familiarity with the work. To ensure an integrated approach across noise policies and the most efficient use of consultancy, it is recommended that Extrium be contracted to complete the remaining work on noise. The GLA Transport Team is seeking permission to spend £25,000 for the Extrium consultancy.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objective of this project is for Extrium to provide the foundation and necessary expertise for the GLA to deliver noise policies under an integrated London Environment Strategy. This will supersede Sounder City, the 2004 Mayor’s Ambient Noise Strategy. As industry experts in aviation noise, Extrium will also be reviewing the noise aspects of the draft London Plan Aviation Policy.

To achieve this, the Extrium is expected to deliver the following:
a.    Review, revise and finalise a noise policy framework for the LES
b.    Review the noise related sections of the LES Integrated Impact Assessment
c.    Review and redraft the LES General Assessment of the Environment 
d.    Provide advice on the drafting of the noise aspects of the draft London Plan’s Aviation Policy

There is also potential to scope aviation noise ‘no harm’ criteria and thresholds as a possible further work package with this consultant.

Equality comments

No special gender, religion or sex orientation equality issue is expected to arise as a result of taking part in this project. If any issue will arise, it will be promptly resolved at as a part of the daily project management.


Other considerations

a) key risks and issues
This decision is not considered to pose any risks to the GLA. 

b) links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The current London Plan lists reducing and managing noise, improving and enhancing the acoustic environment and promoting appropriate soundscapes as a key action under policy 7.15. The transport, spatial and design policies of this plan are designed to be implemented in order to reduce and manage noise to improve health and quality of life, and support the objectives of the Mayor’s Ambient Noise Strategy.

The new draft London Plan currently maintains these noise policy actions as well as addressing noise as part of the Aviation Policy.

Noise is also one of 6 strategy areas addressed in the upcoming London Environment Strategy. 

c) impact assessments and consultations.
Not applicable due to the scale of this project 

Financial comments

5.1    The Assistant Director’s approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £25,000 to commission the consultant Extrium to draft Noise Policies for the London Environment Strategy (LES) and the London Plan Aviation Policy. This is to be funded as follows:
•    £18,000 from the DEE 2016-17and 2017-18 Programme Budget; 
•    £5,000 from the Transport 2016-17 and 2017-18 Programme Budget; and
•    £2,000 from the London Plan 2016-17 and 2017-18 Programme Budget.

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