Construction site working hours to enable social distancing

Construction site working hours to enable social distancing On 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours.

This statement expects local planning authorities to temporarily approve requests to extend construction working hours, to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines, until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, unless there are very compelling reasons against this.

All written requests for relaxations to working hours conditions should be submitted in writing to planningdev@easthants.gov.uk. A written request should include the following:

  • the reference number of the planning permission issued by the LPA or appeal decision
  • the nature and extent of the relaxation being requested, including end date.
  • confirm if work during the extended hours is being proposed for the entire site or away from adjacent residences.
  • provide an updated CEMP (Construction Environmental Management Plan) which indicates the measures to be put in place to ensure no nuisance level impact on adjacent and nearby residential receptors from noise, dust and site/security lighting.
  • provide a manned telephone number to receive any complaints from residents, especially during any extended operating hours.
  • confirm how the telephone number is to be communicated to local residents and that it will also be clearly advertised at site entrances for the public.
  • confirm how a letter drop is proposed, for affected residents, to make them aware of the additional late weeknight and Saturday working hours.

In doing so, it will be important for you to consider potential impacts and, where necessary, to put forward plans to manage concerns drawing on existing good practice.

  • we will be supportive of reasonable requests.
  • we will accept proposals for extended working hours unless there are very strong reasons against this.
  • we will ensure that decisions are issued within 10 days where possible. 
  • we will try and make a soft and user-friendly process where possible.

In making our decision, we may consider where there are unreasonable impacts, but we will reject proposals only where there are very compelling reasons.

These reasons could include the significant impact on neighbouring businesses or uses such as care homes, which are particularly sensitive to noise, dust or vibration, which cannot be overcome through other mitigation, or where impacts on densely populated areas would be unreasonable.  We will consider the fact that more people are spending more time at home, including working from home.

We will balance their reasonable expectations for the acoustic environment in their home against the desire to ensure that necessary construction work can continue.

Provisions under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 can be used by the Environmental Health Service, if noise or other nuisances from building works are considered to be causing material interference with the use or enjoyment of neighboring properties.

This could include restricting hours of work.