Planning Portal

PPS 8: Open Space, Sport and Outdoor Recreation
Policy OS 5

Policy OS 5 Noise Generating Sports and Outdoor Recreational Activities Facilities
The Department will only permit the development of sport or outdoor recreational activities that generate high levels of noise where all the following criteria are met:
  1. there is no unacceptable level of disturbance to people living nearby or conflict with other noise sensitive uses;
  2. there is no unacceptable level of disturbance to farm livestock and wildlife; and
  3. there is no conflict with the enjoyment of environmentally sensitive features and locations or areas valued for their silence and solitude.

Justification and Amplification

5.41 The impact of noise is an important issue in assessing proposals for activities such as motorsports, shooting, water-skiing and paintball adventure games. The noise associated with such activities can cause disturbance to local residents and conflict with nearby noise sensitive uses such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and places of worship. These sports or activities can also be disruptive to livestock and wildlife and have a detrimental effect on the natural environment.
5.42 Appropriate sites for regular use by noise generating sports are not easy to identify. Much will depend on the type of activity, the tone, level, frequency and duration of any noise generated, the design of facilities, the nature of the local topography and the amount of existing and proposed screening. While measures can sometimes be taken to reduce noise at source, only those locations where the impact of noise can be effectively contained and minimized by the use of features such as landform or woodland should generally be considered.
5.43 Suitable sites for noisy sports may include former mineral workings or locations where the ambient noise level is already high and the tone of noise produced by the proposed sporting or recreation activity will not appear dominant. There may be occasions where the Department may only consider it appropriate to grant a planning permission for a limited period to allow the impact of noise levels and any potential disturbance or nuisance to be assessed.
5.44 The development of noisy sports or outdoor recreation activities will generally be inappropriate in or near environmentally sensitive features or locations, such as sites of nature conservation importance or historic parks, gardens and demesnes. Such activities can significantly, and sometimes irreversibly, harm these valued environments. Particular care will also be necessary in assessing proposals in areas of high landscape quality such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there will be a presumption against noisy sports in areas valued for their silence and solitude.
5.45 Where appropriate the Department will liaise with the Sports Council for Northern Ireland or the governing body of a particular noise generating sport to ascertain if the activity is subject to a code of practice or other means of control such as licensing conditions.
5.46 It should be noted that a number of noise generating sports, such as clay pigeon shooting and motor racing, which may only function infrequently, operate within the confines of the temporary use rights currently provided by the Planning (General Development) Order (NI) 1993 (see paragraph 5.35).
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