UK Ecological Survey Consultants - Ecology Durham - Ecology Northeast

Sustainable Home Building at Langley Moor

This article constitutes an update of the project details already posted on the Elmer Ecology website.

The project objective is to build 5 ‘Passivehaus’ homes. These will be extremely well insulated and all drafts will be sealed – the houses are then mechanically ventilated and a heat exchanger ensures that heat from stale air exiting the house warms the clean air entering the house. The house can then be heated by a single towel rail even during winter, and does not overheat in summer.


I was aware from the onset that an excellent case would need to be made for the development given its unusual location. The site is located adjacent Dearness Kennels on the boundary of the green belt, but on land identified as previously developed / brownfield. As a consequence of its location, Council Planning Officers requested a traffic / access statement, a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment and a Noise Assessment.

Following completion of the noise assessment, NVA Noise Consultants determined a need to reduce noise levels from the adjacent kennels by some 15dB to bring the application in line with the acceptable external noise levels set out in BS4142 – internally, the houses will of course be free from any noise. Through use of a bund and orientation of the houses such that they themselves block noise from the garden spaces, a remarkable 20dB reduction has been modelled which exceeds the requirements of BS4142.

Houses will be built with green roofs and landscape features will include wild flower meadow and species rich native hedgerow which will all serve to re-introduce landscape features typical of the Lower Browney Broad Conservation Area. Given that the plot is previousely developed with considerable dereliction, and that the appearance of the adjacent landscape is fundamentally compromised by the kennels complex, it is possible to improve the landscape value of the location through the development. In particular, the development will screen views of the kennels complex with hedging, green roofs and green walls. I’m very pleased to say that the Councils senior landscape officer now has no landscape based concerns with the development.

Finally, through conducting a traffic assessment, we have been able to identify various measures which if implemented as part of the development will create a significant improvement to highways safety at the access to the nearest road. In particular, more space will be created for pedestrian and cyclists, and bin wagons will no longer have to manoeuvre and reverse on the road to access properties.

It’s taken a while, but having gone through two stages on Informal then Formal Pre-planning advice, Elmer Ecology is finally in a position to present a planning application. I do hope there are no further surprises!


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