The Renewable Energy Foundation[1] has condemned last week’s new wind turbine noise guidance produced at the Government’s request by the Institute of Acoustics.[2] It says it’s inadequate and increases the risk of harm to neighbours.

The IOA wind turbine noise guide not only fails to address the major problems of current regulations (the notorious ETSU-R-97) but actually makes things worse.

Major problems include:

  • 1. The new guidelines deviate from the previous guidance by recommending a change of methodology which permits wind farms to make more noise during quiet evening and night hours when high wind shear conditions prevail.
  • 2. The IoA’s suggested noise condition permits additional headroom for wind farms to make more noise under specific wind conditions that are common during quiet evening and night hours.
  • 3. The IoA guidance on theoretical turbine noise predictions at neighbouring dwellings permits turbines to be built even closer to dwellings.
  • 4. Contrary to the IoA’s own professional Code of Conduct, the primary data relied on in the report are not publicly available, so the claims concerning the validity of the recommended guidelines cannot be independently verified.

Dr John Constable, director of REF, said: “Almost unbelievably, the IoA’s wind farm noise committee report has actually increased the risk of serious noise problems for neighbours to new wind farms, and the risks were already quite unacceptably high.”

Dr Constable continued: “The report may represent current wind industry practice but it is very poor guidance and fails in its duty of care. The government and the acoustics profession should ignore it, as should responsible wind developers who do not wish to antagonise wind farm neighbours.

1. The Renewable Energy Foundation is a UK charity publishing data and analysis on the UK energy sector. It is supported by private donations, is not in receipt of government funding, and has no political affiliations.

2. The IoA guidelines can be found at: http://www.ioa.org.uk/about-us/news-article.asp?id=270, they were launched at a ticket-only seminar in Bristol on 21 May.

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