Noise from clay target shooting

Clay target shooting is a popular recreational activity that generates noise in rural areas, and is normally a weekend activity. ISVR Consulting can measure and assess the noise and suggest noise mitigation techniques.

The conventional guidance and methods of environmental noise assessment – for example Planning Policy Guidance 24 (PPG 24) or British Standard BS 4142 – are not appropriate for this type of noise. This fact was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), which has developed an assessment method and guidance to help enforcement officers and other bodies to resolve the conflict that often arises between clay target shoot operators and their neighbours. The CIEH document also advises shoot operators on the layout of the site and site management procedures to minimise noise.

Recommendations for shoot operators include having a noise buffer zone between the shoot area and noise-sensitive neighbours of 1.5 km in the general direction of shooting and 1 km to the rearward arc. Major shooting events should not be staged more frequently than once every 28 days. 

The assessment method proposes the use of a “Shooting Noise Level” (SNL), which is based on research by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). The shooting noise level can be either the maximum noise level of a shot with the sound level meter set to A-frequency weighting and F-time weighting (LAFmax), or else the short-duration, time-average levels (either LAeq,100ms or LAeq,125ms). The mean SNL is defined as the average of the 25 highest shooting noise levels over a thrirty-minute measurement period.

The BRE research suggests that annoyance is less likely to occur if the mean shooting noise level is below 55 dB(A) and highly likely to occur if the mean shooting level is above 65 dB(A).

ISVR Consulting can also advise on hearing protection for shooters and firearms instructors.