The EU recommendation says that the public exposure limits should apply "where the time of exposure is significant".
What the guidelines say
The EU Recommendation specifies that the public limits should apply where the time of exposure is significant. It specifies that Member States should:
“II. (b) implement measures according to this framework……when the time of exposure is significant….. “
“III (c) may take into account criteria, where appropriate, such as duration of the exposure…..”
The preamble states:
“(9) This recommendation …..applies, in particular, to relevant areas where members of the public spend significant time in relation to the effects covered by this recommendation;”
How this is interpreted in the UK
In October 2009, in the course of their response to the SAGE Recommendations, Government offered a definition of "significant":
"... In this regard, the UK Government considers that exposure for potentially significant periods of time might reasonably be regarded as referring to residential properties, and to properties where members of the public spend an appreciable proportion of their time. " (para 42)
This is then spelled out in greater detail in the Code of Practice on compliance:
"In order to provide precision for the network companies, local planning officers and the public,in terms of assessing which guidelines apply it is appropriate to look across to any readily available tools in the planning system. All regions of the UK are covered in planning by a “Use Classes” regime which extends development control to changes in use of buildings or land. It would therefore be appropriate to draw on the classification used there to provide clarity.
"The thrust of concern where public guidelines should apply is to residential uses. This would embrace use classes variously described as “dwellinghouses”, “houses”, “houses in multiple occupation” and “residential institutions”. It should sensibly be taken more broadly as also embracing other residential properties which may not fall within a particular use class e.g. flats or hostels. A less clear cut case exists for extending it to schools but given the health concern is very much orientated towards childhood sickness it would seem prudent to behave in a precautionary manner and include non-residential uses such as schools, crèches and day nurseries.
"In each case, for practical application of the guidelines the definition should also be taken to include the curtilage of the building concerned."