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UK: Noisy wind farms face ban as ministers launch review into ‘annoying’ sound levels

(While this article MAY sound encouraging, it’s the comments UNDER the article which are enlightening.  For the first time ever, I’m posting the comments to the article as well, because it seems like the British are no more convinced by these ‘studies’ than anyone else around the world is. — DQ)


Emily Gosden, Energy Editor — The Telegraph (UK) — November 30, 2014

Energy department commissions review into disturbance from turbine noise in order to decide when annoyance becomes unacceptable

Noisy wind farms that disturb local communities could be banned, after ministers launched an unprecedented review into the annoyance they cause.

In the first official admission that wind turbine noise can adversely affect local residents, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has commissioned an independent investigation to assess the levels of sound wind farms produce and the extent of disturbance caused as a result.

Experts from the Institute of Acoustics will conduct the research next year, the Telegraph has learnt, and ministers across Government will then use the data to decide at which point the annoyance officially becomes “unacceptable”.

The review is likely to lead to tighter planning guidance for new wind farms and could force existing wind farm operators to restrict their turbines’ operation to stay within the limits.

It is also likely to open the door to claims for compensation by residents subjected to noise above the official nuisance threshold.

Many residents living near wind farms have complained of noise disturbance, while studies have linked wind turbine noise to poor sleep and mental health.

As well as the routine “swishing” noise of the blades spinning, turbines can sometimes produce “thumping” noises when sudden variations in the wind speed cause the blades to stall.

Current planning guidance limits the swishing noise to 43 decibels at night-time for the nearest property but does not deal with the thumping noises, which are a deeper pitch and can be heard at 40 decibels a kilometre away from the turbine.Residents near some wind farms have likened the noise to a cement-mixer or a shoe stuck in a tumble-dryer.

A source said the new review would consider all types of turbine noise. “Everything is on the table,” they said.

Developers could be forced to use software to adjust the angle of the blades to prevent the thumping being caused at an unacceptably annoying level.  (Continue reading article here…..) 


But here are SOME of the comments posted below the article.  These commenters know what they’re talking about and they’re not buying into it.  There’s some good information here …..

  • blotoncopybook    —   Last years review of ETSU-R-97 was not permitted to look at noise levels only the application of the guidelines. M/s Grimes comments on this in the article are very misleading.
  • Roland Smith   —   Practically every involved member of the Institute of Acoustics has a vested interest in wind turbine noise with their noses deep in the trough, so don’t expect any radical changes to ETSU-R-97.                        Politically Correct  —   You are so right. They are a bunch of rogues. There are one or two noticeable exceptions.   Mike Stigwood http://www.masenv.co.uk/windfa… and Dick Bowdler http://www.dickbowdler.co.uk/c… come to mind. Both guys have honourably refused to accept the corruption and fraud associated with the wind turbine developers.Most of the so called wind turbine consultants are more than happy to do whatever it takes to persuade councillors that there will be no noise impact, regardless of the facts. To me they have no concern about the impact on people of their actions, as long as they make money. If any of them are reading this, please feel free to defend yourselves.
    In an ideal world noise and environmental assessments would be independent, paid for but not commissioned by the developers. Accredited consultants should be picked at random by the council and the bill sent to the developers once the report is published.
  • LIberanos   —  If not just some but the whole of the UK’s energy was produced by wind, and everything else was closed down, effectively bankrupting us, the effect on global warming would be…er, barely noticeable.
  • Michael Marks  —   I have communicated with our local environmental health officer on the subject of pressure energy transmission, noise, the reply is always related to ETSU-R-97.
    When I have indicated that this research is sketchy and outdated his reply is those are his guide lines. When pressed and informed of more up to date documents his reply is they are of no interest to him. When it was suggested that his responsibility should be to question out of date guide lines to those above he said that it was not his job to do so.
    Whose health is he looking after?
  • Politically Correct    —   ETSU-R-97 is a complete scandal, wind turbines should have been made to comply with BS4142:1997 Method for rating industrial noise affecting mixed residential and industrial areas, like any other industrial equipment. Instead the wind industry was allowed to come up with its own prejudiced standard which in no way protects nearby residents.Politicians like Dimmock Davey come up with rubbish to defend the indefensible. What kind of noise standard allows a higher level of noise at night than during the daytime?ETSU-R-97. What kind of noise standards allows turbines to produce a greater amount of extra noise onto naturally very quiet areas than noisy ones? ETSU-R-97. What kind of noise standard averages noise levels over 10 minutes in order to average out any short duration thumps and bangs? ETSU-R-97.ETSU-R-97 does not specify the actual model to be used to calculate noise levels. Most wind turbine noise assessments incorrectly use ISO 9613-2 because it is easy to use but the model was never designed for wind turbine type sources. Unfortunately most town planners and councillors making planning decisions are unaware of this.

    “It should also be noted that wind farms represent a relatively rare situation where the noise source is located greater than 60 metres above the ground height. Prediction methods such as CONCAWE and ISO 9613‐2 have generally not been developed or tested considering noise sources at these heights, which may explain why they do not appropriately account for topography in this situation.” (Comparison of predicted and measured wind farm noise levels and implications for assessments of new wind farms , Tom Evans and Jonathan Cooper, Proceedings of ACOUSTICS, 2011).

    Many, many, expert authors have highlighted the flaws in ETSU-R-97 over the years but DECC and IoA and their cash rich green blob paymasters stick their fingers in their ears and shout “Lah-Lah” very loudly. Meantime thousands of rural residents have their lives made into a misery. Why are the press not all over this scandal?

    For many years RenewablesUK denied there was such a thing as EAM, but finally this year, in the face of a flood of independent,, peer reviewed, expert evidence they finally had to admit of its existence. No hint of an apology of course.




  • rinkaiso      —      Many years ago in Flushing, Holland we were conducting sea trials on a ship. Each night we returned from the North Sea. One one ocasion we were due to commence noise and vibration measurements the following day. In preparation it was necessary to calibrate equipment. To do this all auxiliary machinery was shut down and the equipment set up without background noise. When done we moved berth and moored alongside a wind turbine. This immediately caused the low frequency noise to exceed limits before the main engines were even started.
  • Vindpust   —  Here we go again.Professional acousticians make a very good living from the wind industry gravy train.They are the very people who drew up the ETSU-R-97 guidelines which were specifically designed to allow the wind industry to get round the problem of building industrial plant in quiet rural areas where it would not meet the existing guidelines on industrial noise.To quote from the preamble to ETSU-R-97: “This document describes a framework for the measurement of wind farm noise and gives indicative noise levels thought to offer a reasonable degree of protection to wind farm neighbours, without placing unreasonable restrictions on wind farm development or adding unduly to the costs and administration burdens on wind farm developers and local
    authorities.” (Summary S1).

    We need to involve CLINICIANS (especially sleep medicine experts) and scientists with expertise on low-frequency sound and the cochlear mechanism of the inner ear.

    Widggget   —  Spot on Vindpust, the IoA are hardly ‘independent’ as they have a dog in the game.They have just been deluged with letters from qualified engineers questioning their independence.

    The problem with ETSU (apart from the fact that it was drafted by industry placemen) is that it was drawn up when turbines were very small, but we are now talking about huge structures typically over 125m tall, and heading for even bigger ones.

    The bigger the blade, the deeper the infrasound that gets into the structure of nearby buildings, even if it is below the threshold of human hearing.
    This is why the Davis family – farmers in Lincolnshire – were paid off before their case against the developer and landowner came to judgement.

    This is not about saving the planet but about farming the huge subsidies that are hidden in all our bills.


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3 Comments on “UK: Noisy wind farms face ban as ministers launch review into ‘annoying’ sound levels”

  1. ashbee2 December 1, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    Reblogged this on Global Wind Energy — The Human Impact.

  2. David Unwin December 2, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    Your analysis is utterly correct. This is just a device to deflect attention from what is rapidly being shown to be a very serious problem for the subsidy farmers of UK. The result of the review is utterly predictable and will be a recommendation for a planning condition similar to that developed by wind energy company RES that is already known to be totally ineffective at mitigation but totally effective in its real purpose, which is to throw the issue into the long grass. Quite what DECC is doing getting involved with planning issues that are strictly what DCLG and DEFRA do is also suspect. MP Heaton Harris has set up an independent working group to do the same job as the IoA but to do it properly and independently. This will report sometime in the New Year.

  3. cornwallwindwatch December 2, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

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