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Study on Mitigation Measures for Nuisance Buffers

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ESC conducted a Study on Mitigation Measures for Nuisance Buffers for a multi-agency project for eleven sites across Singapore.  

About the Project

This multi-agency project consisting of four government agencies assessed and identified noise, dust and odour impacts. Detailing cost-effective and proven mitigation measures to minimise nuisance impacts posed by residual or fugitive emissions of noise, smell, dust and fumes to meet performance standards, based on eleven sites across Singapore.  

Our Approach

The main components of the study include benchmarking of global nuisance regulations, propose nuisance level performance standards for Singapore, and analyse eleven sites, including measuring their baseline nuisance levels, identify and model potential nuisances from the proposed industries at each, and identify proven cost-effective mitigation measures for each case study. 

The benchmarking exercise reviewed the buffer distances and nuisance level performance standards of Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, California, the UK, Germany and Japan. Singapore’s buffer distances and performance standards are similar to each of the reviewed countries, with some key differences on buffer distances and noise performance standards which Singapore does not regulate noise at receptors and odour. All other countries have receptor-based standards for each. 

The Case Studies were chosen due to their proximity to sensitive receptors (within 100 m), generally HDB or landed housing, which is within the buffer distances for B1 and B2 industry types. Air and noise monitoring conducted at each site found the measured levels of each to be in line with expectations for Singapore’s urban environment, although noise levels at Case Study 2 (“Kallang”) and 5 (“Woodlands”) sites were higher than Singapore’s performance standards. Potential nuisances typical of industries in the B1 and B2 classification was generated from industrial research and a survey of representative companies in the B1/B2 classification operating in Singapore. 

Generic mitigation options and measures have been proposed for each Case Study. A key recommendation for nuisance control is the special attention paid to the layout of a building during the design stage, a general rule for the location of: 

  • Air and odour sources – chimneys, vents, parking and loading/unloading bays and; 
  • Noise sources including – loading/unloading bays, parking bays as well as the external location of machinery housing such as compressors; 

should be sited at the most distant point to the nearest sensitive receptor, and/or with the building between the receptor and the source to utilise the building as a barrier. 


ESC’s study showed that with increasing urban density, an SSIA could also prove to be a valuable tool for Authorities to assess whether an industrial application could be sited within a buffer distance, to residential or other sensitive receptors. Analysis of the six Case Studies, sited within existing buffer distances, has shown that with proper planning, implementation of mitigation measures and operational controls, nuisances from the proposed developments could be managed to ensure minimal impacts upon nearby sensitive receptors, for each of the B1/B2 industrial types that were assessed. The results of the quantitative CBA were positive for all Sites, in that the economic benefit of using each Site, whilst applying the proposed performance standards to industry operation was positive in all cases. 

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