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Innovative noise solution for inner city substation

Ealing substation in South Ealing, London, supplies electricity to over 200,000 homes. The site is operated jointly by National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).

Situation

The NGET and SSEN transformers were making a loud, intrusive humming noise, which was causing nearby residents significant disturbance.

Our approach

Having established that the nuisance was caused by the NGET and SSEN transformers, we used our ECS acoustic consultants to help develop a mitigation solution. Our project team designed 13 different noise mitigation schemes using acoustic modelling software to predict the level of noise reduction they would achieve at numerous locations around the site. The software showed that the most effective option was a 12-metre high acoustically absorptive barrier.

Our team used artist's impressions to show what the barrier would look like, including views from residents’ homes. We worked with a PR company to support engagement with the local community through regular meetings and letter drops. We also installed a temporary office to invite residents onto site and gain their feedback throughout the process.

Outcome

The final solution was a 12m high acoustic barrier around the NGET transformers and a reduced 8m high barrier around the SSEN site. To complete the project, we liaised with the residents and local authority to reduce the visual impact of the acoustic barrier. We did this by offering residents a choice of colour for the barrier, a graduated colour scheme and by covering the barrier with images of trees.

Our people

With years of experience in acoustics, our engineers are fully immersed in the noise management industry; they are currently working with leading experts from all over the world to provide collective guidance on noise from electrical transformers. They have close links with The Institute of Acoustics, The Institution of Engineering and Technology and The Noise Abatement Society.

About our Noise Consultancy

ECS provides bespoke consultancy support for companies dealing with noise complaints. Our noise management experts act as independent consultants, liaising with external parties on your behalf.

We can also help you gain planning consent where you require a noise assessment for a project you’re proposing. In addition, we offer noise assessments for the replacement or addition of equipment on a site, as well as offering advice on the need for noise mitigation. We can also test equipment in a wind tunnel to see if it makes a noise in the wind.

If you are experiencing any noise concerns relating to your site or your assets, we can offer you guidance on how best to address the issue. Please contact us [email protected]

Industry recognition

• Received the John Connell Noise Abatement Society Local Authority Award in 2018, which recognises shining examples of community cooperation, education and creative solutions to noise pollution problems.

• Shortlisted for the Customer Service Award at the IAM Global Awards 2019.

• Highly Commended in the John Connell Noise Abatement Society Innovation Award in 2019, which celebrates the development of pioneering approaches to resolving noise pollution.

• Won the Institute of Acoustics Sustainable Design Award for 2020, which recognises solutions that balance reducing unwanted noise with minimising other environmental and community impacts.

• Showcased a noise mitigation project at a UK Acoustics Network Soundscape conference in London, as an example of best practice.