Adrian James Acoustics has a long history of providing expert witness representation in civil and criminal courts. Senior members of our team frequently appear as expert witnesses for planning applications and appeals, public inquiries and select committees.
We have undertaken numerous reports for claims of noise-induced hearing loss. Solicitors will usually appoint us on a joint basis. This requires us to act as independent experts, evaluating evidence and providing impartial reports on industrial claims, for both the claimant and defendant. We can also provide expert witness representation for cases of military deafness.
Planning and Noise
We provide expert evidence at local authority planning committees, at appeals and Planning Inquiries, and where needed in court. Recent projects include presentation of evidence for district and county councils at hearings into the Development Consent Orders for East Anglia ONE and TWO windfarms, and the same process, again for the local authorities, for the DCO for Sizewell C. In both cases we obtained significant additional mitigation to protect residents from noise and vibration.
We also provided evidence to the High Court in the matter of a proposed water turbine on the river Thames, and to the Appeal Court on the effects of military aircraft noise on schools.
Closer to home, we demonstrated that noise from a set of Victorian Gallopers at a steam railway museum could not cause a nuisance to residents. Our evidence convinced the Planning Inspector to overturn a planning decision against our client, who was awarded full costs.
Noise nuisance and abatement
We act both for residents seeking relief from noise nuisance, and for businesses where we consider that an abatement notice has been issued wrongly.
Recently, a local authority gave planning consent for a dwelling next to an existing performance venue, and then issued a noise abatement notice. Our evidence on sound insulation demonstrated that it was simply not practicable for the music venue to comply with the noise abatement notice, and that the local authority was at fault for granting the planning consent.
In another example, we showed that a studio designer’s report on noise transmission through a party wall was badly flawed. As a result, the claim of noise nuisance against our client (a music school in London) was withdrawn.
Trains and aircraft
One of our earliest projects was to co-ordinate expert witness evidence on train and construction noise for the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. More recently, Essex & Hertfordshire County Councils appointed us to analyse aircraft noise near Stansted Airport and determine how a second runway would affect schools in the area. This involved assessing potential aircraft noise at 80 schools and drafting proofs of evidence before the British Airport Authority withdrew its application.
Review of other consultants’ work
We are sometimes appointed to advise on the work of other acoustics consultants, and in particular, whether they have used the requisite standard of “Skill, care and diligence” in their acoustic designs. By definition, these cases tend to be confidential and to be settled out of court, but it is not unusual to find individual acoustics consultants or companies acting outside their area of expertise or falling short of the standards that their client could reasonably expect.
An important service that we provide is for parents of children with Special Educational Needs, where they consider that the school selected by the education authority is acoustically unsuitable. We provide independent assessments and evidence to SEND Tribunals, and we advise schools and education authorities on how to provide acoustically good teaching environments.
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