What is Section 61?
Control of Pollution Act 1974 dictates the regulatory powers for controlling noise and vibration (among many other environmental impacts). Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 regulates prior consent for work on construction sites. It is commonly referred to when a contractor or developer applies to the Local Authority for consent to carry out works which are likely to have a significant impact on the local community due to the generation of noise and vibration on site. The types of works include:
- The assembly, construction, alteration, repair or maintenance of buildings, structures or roads;
- Breaking up, opening or boring under any road or adjacent land in connection with the construction, inspection, maintenance or removal of works;
- Demolition or dredging work;
- Any work of engineering construction (if not included in the works listed above).
Sectio 61 Application
A Section 61 application shall contain the particulars of:
- Details of the works to be completed;
- The method by which the works will be completed;
- Proposed process to minimise noise resulting from the works (mitigation).
The Local Authority has twenty-eight days to grant consent based on the application submitted, but it also has the power to:
- Grant consent with conditions attached;
- Limit or qualify a consent to allow for any change in circumstances;
- Limit the duration of the consent.
It is also important to note that if any works have been carried out prior to the submission of the application, excluding any minor site preparation, the application will not be approved.
Why is it Important?
By applying for a Section 61 consent, the organisation is taking a proactive approach to environmental management. As mentioned in our blog, ‘Proactive Environmental Management and Why it Matters’, there are a number of reasons why proactive approach to environmental management is beneficial.
- Avoidance of legal prosecution
- Positive public relations
Section 61 consent indicates that a contractor or developer has considered its impact on both the environment and local community and put mitigation measures in place to reduce negative impacts to both. This is likely to strengthen the contractor or developer’s public image and reduce complaints from the community.
- Long-term capital gain
Obtaining Section 61 consent eliminates the risk of being issued a Section 60 notice which can impose requirements on:
- Plant or machinery that can or cannot be used on site;
- Hours during which work is to be carried out;
- Level of noise that may be emitted from the site, at a specified point on site or during specified hours;
- Provide for change of circumstances.
A Section 60 notice, oftentimes, can halt on-site activities until mitigation efforts are taken to reduce noise. This can equate to lost time, money and upsetting the client because of delays.
A Section 61 consent is a proactive measure that can save a contractor / developer time, money improve environmental performance and prevent prosecution.
Does your organisation understand the importance of a Section 61 consent and how it can protect you from legal prosecution?