Planning and Pollution


Regulatory Services perform an important role in the planning process. We provide our partners with technical advice on the environmental suitability of strategic planning and major developments, down to simple planning applications made by individual members of the public.

The technical guidance provided here is designed to assist planning officers, members of the public, environmental consultants and planning agents in the process. This may include submitting supporting documents to properly consider the impact of the proposed development.

Members of public wishing to make a comment on planning application(s) please contact the Local Planning Authority at your local council.


Technical Guidance note for planning

This technical guidance document sets out in detail, Worcestershire Regulatory Services approach to dealing with environmental protection matters when consulted by local planning authorities(LPA) focusing on the areas of Contaminated Land, Air Quality, Light Pollution, Noise and Vibration and Odour. Experienced planning applicants may wish to use this document to assist in their own pre-application screening process as to whether their proposals will require assessment for suitability. A copy of the guidance is available to download below. WRS also provide further advice on air quality impact by looking at our interactive map function.

PLEASE NOTE : Chapter 5 on noise control has had a major revision as of July 2021.

*NEW* Technical Guidance Document v.5.3 (Last updated July 2021)

(This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Follow the link about how to request it in an accessible format.)


Guidance on noise assessments during Covid-19 outbreak (as of January 2020 up to August 2021)

Due to the country being placed on a civil contingency footing and the consequential changes in public behaviour and norms the production of noise assessments from the deployment of noise meters during this period will not be considered representative for the purposes (March 19th 2020 onward) of development control. In light of this WRS are making the following recommendations to assist developers and LPA’s with regards to the use of alternative methods of assessment that will be considered acceptable until normality returns :

WRS recommend that data should be sourced from the Extrium resource in the first instance, which provides comprehensive modelled levels of road noise data for all major arterial roads in the UK. WRS have found this data to be reliable when compared to actual site surveys and we will accept assessments based on this source. Links to the database are available here :

Extrium Website for noise maps

Consultants with acoustic modelling software at their disposal may also wish to consider the use of road traffic data that Worcestershire County Council provide through DFT’s road Traffic statistics :

National Road Traffic Data

Worcestershire Road Traffic Data

WRS will accept all modelled data and reports using recognised modelling tools and CRTN.

WRS will not accept measured noise level data collected for transportation sources between the 19 March 2020 to date. Present traffic numbers are at approximately 90% of pre-lockdown levels and consultants preparing reports should take this into consideration when making assessments. It is anticipated that this advice will change with the covid status of Worcestershire under the government tiered classification process. It is therefore recommended that consultants and planning applicants keep themselves updated regularly to the changes on this web page.

WRS will also accept the same approach to predicting rail noise and will accept modelled data or use of RTN calculation techniques. Resources in relation to rail traffic movements are available here with a list of locomotive type :Train traffic information

It will be difficult to assess town centre noise or noise generated in a mixed use setting based on measured sources (i.e. residential next to A3, A4, A5, B1, B2, B8, D1 and D2 uses) as the noise climate will no longer be representative of the norm due to the current lockdown on public movements. This also applies to all BS 4142:2019 assessments. For this reason WRS will reject studies based on data collected from the 19 March 2020 onwards. Studies based on old data should be discussed with the service prior to being used for the purpose of determining its relevance and accuracy.

Construction & Demolition

WRS addresses all aspects of pollution associated with building work and construction activity and will draw its requirements to the attention of developers during the development and ground preparation stages. This guide is designed with major construction projects in mind however small scale developers will find the guide useful. A copy of the best practice guide is available to download below:

Construction & Demolition Guidance V2.0 (November 2020)

Unsociable working hours request form (Microsoft Word version)

(These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Follow the link about how to request it in an accessible format.)

Associated Documents

The technical guidance note for planning refers to several stand alone guides that WRS still consider relevant. Some of these documents have been retracted by DEFRA  and are no longer available however their technical content  still remain valid for the purposes of assessing environmental impact on planning matters. Copies of these documents are available to download (Please note that DEFRA guidance for the control of odour from commercial kitchen systems has been superseded by EMAQ's guidance, which can be found on EMAQ's web site.

Biomass boilers are regulated in a variety of ways (depending on the size of the boiler) and WRS requires additional information to make the appropriate assessment for compliance with these requirements. WRS have powers under The Clean Air Act 1993 to request the measurement of dust emissions from the biomass boiler exhaust stack and require arrestment plant to be installed to control dust emissions if required.

The Act is primarily aimed at controlling smoke, grit and dust.  This legislation does not serve to mitigate fine particulate matter emissions. The technical details of the biomass boiler, emission concentrations, fuel specification, fuel storage and delivery arrangements in addition to a determination of stack height must be submitted to us for approval. The biomass boiler information form should be completed and included with your planning application if planning permission is required. The information request can be downloaded below:

Biomass Boiler Information Request Form