Construction demolition pollution

Noise , dust and air pollution

Noise and vibration

Much of the plant and machinery and methods of work used in construction and demolition are intrinsically very noisy and may give rise to vibration.

As a council, we recognise that there are practical constraints in reducing any impact and ask that contractors consider the following measures prior to commencing work:

  • scheduling certain works to more acceptable times of the day
  • appropriate siting of equipment away from sensitive receptors
  • specification and use of machinery that is designed to be as quiet as possible
  • proper maintenance and operation of plant and equipment
  • use of the least intrusive methods of work
  • proper instruction and supervision of staff
  • rest periods during which operations are temporarily ceased
  • switching of plant when not in use


Dust is an inevitable consequence of construction works, particularly when dry and windy weather conditions prevail and contractors must take all reasonable practicable means to keep emissions to a minimum.

Practice solutions include:

  • regular watering down of the affected area to reduce emissions
  • suitable location of stockpiles and handling of materials
  • control of cutting and grinding of materials on site
  • appropriate covering of skips and vehicles

It should also be noted that certain operations to crush, screen and grade materials may require a permit from the council. Where plant is used to recycle materials, appropriate licences may also be required from the Environment agency.

Air pollution

The contractor shall take all necessary precautions to minimise or prevent the occurrence of smoke emissions or fumes from the site.

Precautions include:

  • use of processes that do not generate hazardous fumes or dust
  • good maintenance of plant, shutting or throttling done when not in use
  • burning shall not be permitted on any site at any time and contractors are reminded that emission of dark smoke as defined by the Clean Air Act 1993 is an absolute offence

Light pollution

Site lighting shall be designed, positioned and maintained so as not to intrude unnecessarily on adjacent buildings and land uses. Neither must it cause distraction or confusion to passing drivers on adjoining public highways.

Contaminated land

If during works unexpected contamination is found, which has not previously been identified, the council should be notified immediately. Work shall not continue until an appropriate site investigation has been undertaken and recommendations have been submitted to and approved by the council.

The contractor shall also consult with the Environment Agency regarding measures to protect aquatic environment.

Waste disposal

Using good waste management practice on site will help your organisation to comply with environmental legislation, increase the sustainability of your development, reduce your costs and assist in creating a positive image of your business.

Recycling is encouraged in all instances and disposal shall always be in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Agency, the current Environmental legislation and Special Waste Legislation.

Visit out tidy tips page for information on the disposal of waste.