The review of Noise Guidance for Onshore Wind Farms has been published (ETSU-R-97).  Only 10% of Councils had the time to responded to the Consultation which confirms their lack of resources and the immense pressure they are under.
It confirms what campaigners have been saying for decades:
  • ETSU is outdated, having been published in 1996 when turbines were tiny in comparison to what we have today (approx 50m compared to today’s proposals of up to 260m.)
  • New research has been undertaken
  • Understanding of wind turbine sound has progressed, highlighting in particular the potential impact of amplitude modulation (AM) described below.
The current guidance does not adequately address the adverse impact of amplitude modulation (AM), which increases noise annoyance.  It is an expected characteristic of wind turbine sound immissions.  AM is explained as ” a regular fluctuation of the sound level associated with the passage of the blades. It is often described subjectively as a ‘swish’ or ‘whoomph’ sound.  It is the main reason for wind turbine noise complaints.
The Report also recommends:
  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence on the effects of wind turbine sound exposure on noise annoyance and sleep quality,
  • A more detailed review of national and regional guidelines applied in overseas territories to manage wind turbine noise,
  • A study to consider the effectiveness of the current ‘relative impact’ approach to controlling wind turbine noise based on existing background sound environments,
  • A study to consider the effectiveness of the ‘relative impact’ approach to controlling wind turbine noise and identification of effect thresholds.

Many people around the world have been subjected to the horrors of living with excessive wind turbine noise, disturbing their sleep, causing stress and in some cases leaving them unable to sell their homes.  None of them should have been subjected to this.  Common sense dictates that no more applications for wind farms should be entertained until the final Guidance is published, however long that may take.

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