Relax heat pump noise and distance restrictions, say acoustic experts

Expert recommends new noise restrictions on ASHPs

Noise restrictions on air source heat pumps could be relaxed during daytime hours, as could the minimum distance from other properties that devices can be located, a new paper has recommended. 

The report, commissioned by the Welsh government and produced acoustic consultants, says heat pumps would typically need to be installed 4m from neighbours to meet existing noise guidance. 

Complaints about heat pump noise are currently at a ‘low level’, ‘very likely’ because installations are being carried out in areas with low housing densities. This could change, however, as the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme encourages heat pump uptake in suburban and urban areas. 

The paper recommends that existing noise limits could be preserved between 11pm and 7am, and relaxed during daytime hours, when the devices are operating harder. It also recommends that the minimum distance of heat pumps from boundaries – which is set at 1m in England and 3m in Wales – could be relaxed where the device is located next to a substantial barrier, such as a brick wall. 

In his Autumn Statement Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt announced plans to consult on introducing new permitted development rights that would end the ‘blanket restriction’ on heat pumps being one metre from a property boundary in England.