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December 09, 2013

Ontario Updates Noise Guideline to Harmonize Approvals and Land Use Planning Decisions

After more than three years, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) has finally released its Environmental Noise Guideline, Stationary and Transportation Sources – Approval and Planning (NPC-300).  The Guideline, posted to the Environmental Registry on October 21, 2013, ensures that MOE uses a single and harmonized set of noise standards to evaluate ECA applications.  The Guideline similarly affects municipalities in land use planning decisions.  MOE will also use NPC 300 to evaluate noise complaints under s.14 of the Environmental Protection Act.

The update removes inconsistencies between standards that were used in MOE’s approvals process and those that applied to local land use decisions.  NPC-300 will facilitate urban intensification while ensuring new residential developments do not push existing industrial and commercial sources of noise out of compliance.  Sound level limits will be applied differently in the newly created Class 4 areas.  While limits for Class 1, 2 and 3 areas assume open windows in receptor buildings, the limits for a Class 4 area assume mitigation measures at the receptors.  These include closed windows and enclosed noise buffer balconies, together with the operation of a ventilation system or central air conditioning, thereby allowing higher ambient noise levels.

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