Foreword by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London




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Best Practice Guidance

All new developments that require planning approval from the local planning authority (LPA) may be subject to the requirements of this Best Practice Guidance. It is important for the developer and LPA to discuss the activities on site and agree what controls, if any, will be put in place prior to planning permission being granted.

Depending on the size of the development and the potential impact of a particular activity, the LPA may decide to make mitigation the subject of one or more planning conditions. The main legislative controls are identified below; further details are also provided in Appendix 3: Relevant legislation and guidance.

Developers should be aware that there are likely to be other pieces of legislation that are not covered in this document. In addition, the acts and regulations that have been identified within this document were correct at time of publication, if new legislation is introduced that sets higher standards, then this should be taken into account.

By following this Best Practice Guidance developers are identifying good practice methods for demolition and construction. Compliance with this document does not necessarily offer exemptions from prosecution under any of the legislation impacting upon demolition and construction, though it should be recognised that using Best Practicable Means (BPM) could be used as a defence from prosecution under the S.80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Developers should take elements of this Best Practice Guidance into account depending on the level of risk identified for the particular construction site. Where possible, best practice mitigation measures should be carried out at all times, although it may be impossible to
fully comply with the guidance for certain emergency works. In these cases, the developer should provide the local authority with as much notice as possible.

Planning conditions

Recent guidelines in PPS23 set out the Government’s policies on pollution control and planning. Annex 1 paragraph 1.48 regarding planning conditions states “planning conditions could be used in respect of [...] impacts such as noise, vibrations, odour, air pollutants and dust from certain phases of the development such as demolition and construction”. It is therefore appropriate to use this Best Practice Guidance to inform planning conditions, examples of which are included in Appendix 2. Prior approval of the best practice guidance using the planning system in this way should avoid the need to deal with enforcement issues under other legislation. However, it is up to the individual local authority to decide whether a condition is appropriate and what level of enforcement is needed. However, it may be necessary for the LPA to set site-specific conditions for developments. More information on standard conditions can be found in London Councils’ Planning Guidance10. In order to achieve the aims of the Best Practice Guidance it will be important to undertake negotiations early on in the planning process.

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 apply at all times on demolition and construction sites. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the enforcing authority.

Research is continuing into the health effects of airborne pollutants and exposure to PM10, though evidence is emerging that smaller particles within this fraction - below PM2.5 - may be the most harmful. As a first step to protect a worker’s health and safety, emissions of airborne pollutants should always be minimised. However, where this cannot be achieved personal protective equipment should be provided and used. Proper planning should be undertaken and appropriate mitigation decided for demolition and construction projects that will potentially generate large quantities of dust or emissions.

The Building Act 1984

This Act and subsequent Building Regulations 2000 aim to ensure the safety of those within and close to a building during works. They are the main mechanism for a LPA to control the impact of demolition. Under the regulations the LPA must be informed of any proposed demolition at least six weeks before work is due to begin. It will then grant a notice for demolition prior to work commencing. Section 82(J) of the Building Act 1984 can be used by the LPA to place conditions on the demolition notice to ensure that effective dust management options are undertaken.

To facilitate a smooth application process, developers should consider and suggest to the LPA management techniques for dust control during demolition prior to their application.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Under Part III of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, emission of dust, fumes and other effluvia from construction sites can be identified as a statutory nuisance if prejudicial to health or a nuisance. Control of a statutory nuisance is contained within section 80 and a local authority is under a mandatory duty to serve an abatement notice on the person responsible for the nuisance (or the owner or occupier of the premises on which the statutory nuisance is present) if it is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, or is likely to occur or recur11.

Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC)

These regulations apply to smaller industrial activities, known as Part B Installations, such as concrete batching or concrete crushing. Local authorities, as the regulators, are responsible for controlling emissions from these premises and set conditions in permits they issue to achieve this. Conditions are based on Best Available Techniques (BAT)12, which require that the cost of applying a technique is not excessive in relation to the environmental protection it provides. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has produced Process Guidance Notes, which form the statutory guidance on what constitutes BAT for each regulated process. If the regulator believes the operator has contravened, or is likely to contravene any permit conditions, enforcement action can be taken.

Local authorities should be aware that certain installations, such as concrete batching, are not covered by authorisations on demolition and construction sites, but must be included as planning conditions.


3 How this guidance should be used

This guidance is designed to be used by developers, architects, environmental consultants, local authority officers and any other parties involved in any aspect of the construction process (including demolition and other associated activities).

This Best Practice Guidance builds on other guidance and augments individual local authorities’ Considerate Contractors’ Schemes and the experience of local authority officers. It establishes best practice that is relevant and achievable, with the overarching aim of protecting public health. It also aims to provide an overall mechanism to deal with the cumulative impacts of the many individual construction sites within a London borough. This document will therefore complement or replace individual borough’s considerate contractors’ documents, where they exist, and allows those boroughs that do not have their own scheme to access guidance to ensure proper management of demolition and construction sites.

The following three principles are well established and are central to
the control strategies suggested by this Guidance. They follow a
hierarchy to control the emissions of dust and other emissions and reduce human exposure:

1 prevention

2 suppression

3 containment.


The three principles are embedded in this guidance and are used in a way that is appropriate to the scale of a particular development and the potential exposure of site workers, residential neighbours and other susceptible receptors. The following pages illustrate how to assess a development for its potential risk and what controls and mitigation measures should be put in place.

The many forms of development that are taking place in London today preclude the use of a traditional generic template for all construction schemes. Officers recognise this and have incorporated the necessary flexibility required to deal with large-scale high priority sites as well as smaller scale sites. The guidance in this document will assist with the drafting of suitable planning conditions.

It is planned that this document will be reviewed as necessary,
to provide an updated outline of new best practice in dust and emissions management.

4 Air Quality Impact Evaluation

The air quality impact of a development, both within and outside the site boundary, is listed in Section 4.1 (site evaluation), which gives guidance on the likely impact of a development, based on size and location. The possible air quality risks and mitigation measures are outlined in Sections 4.2 to 4.4 and are designed to provide a minimum standard for all sites in London and will help lower air pollution on site and help prevent it impacting on the locality past the site boundary.

It is essential to have effective dust and emission control measures in place for every dust generating activity carried out on site, not only to protect the health and safety of the on-site workforce, but also members of the public in the locality. The air quality impact evaluation applies to all proposed construction activities13, including site clearing, demolition and construction phases. The site evaluation must be conducted before any work activities begin on site.

In order to successfully control demolition and construction activity, it is important to evaluate the risk from pollutants emitted from site. It is envisaged that this approach will bring additional benefits, such as a reduction in the number of nuisance complaints; the majority of which relate to dust and noise emitted from construction activities. At the pre-planning stage, the site manager or developer should:

1 identify whether the demolition/construction site represents a low, medium or high risk by following the guidance in section 4.1

2 determine the risks and best practice measures that could be required by the local planning authority (LPA) for mitigation. See the flow diagrams in sections 4.2, 4.3 or 4.4

3 undertake an Air Quality Risk Assessment (AQRA) and outline how each risk will be mitigated on site. Sections 6 and 7 give more detail of mitigation techniques

4 submit the AQRA to the LPA for assessment and to inform pre-planning discussions.


4.1 Site evaluation

The need and ability of a developer to deploy effective control measures is often dependant on the size and scale of a development. Therefore, it is the intention of this document that best practice activity uses three criteria to assess the potential impact of a demolition or construction site. These criteria take account of the:

• the area taken up by the development

• the number of properties being developed

• the potential impact of the development on sensitive receptors close to the development, for example housing, schools, hospitals and other building uses which would be affected by high levels of air pollution or dust.


The potential for a demolition or construction site to impact at sensitive receptors is dependant on many factors, which include the following:

• location of the building site

• proximity of sensitive receptors

• whether demolition will need to take place

• extent of any intended excavation

• nature, location and size of stockpiles and the length of time they are to be on-site

• occurrence and scale of dust generating activities - including cutting, grinding and sawing

• necessity for on-site concrete crusher or cement batcher

• number and type of vehicles and plant required on-site

• potential for dirt or mud to be made airborne through vehicle movements and

• weather conditions.


A small number, or even one, of these factors may be the cause of increased or prolonged impact on sensitive receptors. In many cases developers’ own experience will provide the knowledge needed to judge the likely impact of each activity.

Section 5 describes how an inventory and timetable of all dust generating activities should be included within the Method Statement and sent to the LPA, along with a description of relevant mitigation measures. The Method Statement should provide the LPA and developers with all the information they need for an informed discussion to agree the evaluation of a particular site into the low, medium or high risk categories.

The guidelines, below, illustrate what criteria a developer and LPA can use to assess the risk posed by a demolition or construction site. The following pages go further and recommend methods to mitigate specific risks.


Site Evaluation Guidelines


A LPA may have its own criteria to assess developments within its area, especially if a number of planned demolition and/or construction sites are due to occur concurrently. It is vital that the developer and LPA assess and agree, at the pre-planning stage, the site evaluation and the controls and mitigation measures needed on site.

Major developments referable to the Mayor

The Mayor’s London Plan policy refers only to planning applications which must be referred to the Mayor according to Parts I - IV of the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2000. Examples include proposals for more than 500 dwellings, 30,000 square metres commercial space provided in the city or 20,000 square metres and 15,000 square metres of commercial space in and outside central London respectively. See Appendix 7 for details.

Major developments as defined by the boroughs

Each borough is able to define what it considers to be a major development. It is suggested that the definition adopted by boroughs is that currently used both by the ODPM PPS2 form that each district planning authority must use to report general developments, and by other London boroughs that have already adopted, or are in the process of adopting, a similar policy.

4.2 Mitigation Measures for Low Risk sites

These sites will be small developments on land with an area of up to 1,000 square metres with the potential for an infrequent impact on sensitive receptors. The following Best Practice Measures should be used:

4.3 Mitigation Measures for Medium Risk sites

These sites will be medium sized developments on land between 1,000 and 15,000 square metres with the potential for an intermittent or likely impact on sensitive receptors. The following Best Practice Measures should be used:

Implementation of the suggested mitigation measures above will help reduce the impact of the construction activities to low risk.


4.4 Mitigation Measures for High Risk sites

These sites will be large, or of strategic importance and defined so by a London borough, or referred directly to the Mayor or the London Development Agency, or have a potentially significant impact on sensitive receptors. The following Best Practice Measures should be used:

5 Method Statement

A method statement should cover all phases of the development and take account of all contractors or sub-contractors. It should be submitted to the local planning authority (LPA) prior to any works being carried out and include a site evaluation (see Section 4.1) and a timetable of dust generating activities accompanied with proposed dust control measures. A Method Statement could be required by the LPA via a condition attached to the planning consent.
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