Wind Turbine Planning ‘Red Tape’ to be Removed

Owners of domestic wind turbines should carefully consider where they place the machine to avoid upsetting
neighbours sensitive to their noise, according to a council official.
Alick Natton, senior environmental health officer at Vale of White Horse District Council, presented a case
study of a statutory noise nuisance at the Institute Of Acoustics’ Wind Turbine Noise meeting in Cardiff,
January 27.
The council was involved in what is believed to be one of the first cases where a homeowner served with a
noise abatement notice for a domestic wind turbine appealed against it at the Magistrates Court.
This followed a complaint about aerodynamic noise from the blades and a droning sound from the turbine,
which was placed about 80 metres from the homeowner’s house, but 55m from neighbours, said Alick.
The homeowner said there was no noise to be abated and tried to fight the notice.
However, the Court ruled that while the noise was not loud, it was continual, frequent and distinctive when
compared to typical transitory rural background noises and amounted to a “nuisance”.
The homeowner has since turned the turbine off, but is still keen to use it, said Alick.
At the IOA meeting Alick asked whether current government planning guidelines for small scale wind turbine
developments were “fit for purpose” as they are included in regulations covering larger turbines, such as
those found at commercial windfarms.
“You are left wondering whether these guidelines are at all helpful for domestic turbines,” said Alick.
He has warned that there could be further issues with noise from wind turbines following government efforts
to remove planning permission red tape.
In November 2009 Housing and Planning Minister John Healey launched a proposal to allow homeowners,
developers and businesses to install their own on-site wind turbines, without having to obtain planning
permission.
The new rules are available for public consultation until February 9, 2010.
Wind turbines up to 15 metres high would be permitted, in locations like industrial estates or agricultural
areas where they would not be a nuisance to residents. A maximum 45dB noise limit is proposed.
Source British Institute of Acoustics

Owners of domestic wind turbines should carefully consider where they place the machine to avoid upsetting neighbours sensitive to their noise, according to a British council official.

Alick Natton, senior environmental health officer at Vale of White Horse District Council, presented a case study of a statutory noise nuisance at the Institute Of Acoustics’ Wind Turbine Noise meeting in Cardiff, January 27.

The council was involved in what is believed to be one of the first cases where a homeowner served with a noise abatement notice for a domestic wind turbine appealed against it at the Magistrates Court.

This followed a complaint about aerodynamic noise from the blades and a droning sound from the turbine, which was placed about 80 metres from the homeowner’s house, but 55m from neighbours, said Alick.

The homeowner said there was no noise to be abated and tried to fight the notice. However, the Court ruled that while the noise was not loud, it was continual, frequent and distinctive when compared to typical transitory rural background noises and amounted to a “nuisance”. The homeowner has since turned the turbine off, but is still keen to use it, said Alick.

At the IOA meeting Alick asked whether current government planning guidelines for small scale wind turbine developments were “fit for purpose” as they are included in regulations covering larger turbines, such as those found at commercial windfarms.

“You are left wondering whether these guidelines are at all helpful for domestic turbines,” said Alick.

He has warned that there could be further issues with noise from wind turbines following government efforts to remove planning permission red tape.

In November 2009 Housing and Planning Minister John Healey launched a proposal to allow homeowners, developers and businesses to install their own on-site wind turbines, without having to obtain planning permission.

The new rules are available for public consultation until February 9, 2010. Wind turbines up to 15 metres high would be permitted, in locations like industrial estates or agricultural  areas where they would not be a nuisance to residents. A maximum 45dB noise limit is proposed.

Source British Institute of Acoustics

 

Experts Reject “Wind Turbine Syndrome

So-called “wind turbine syndrome” has been rejected by a panel of experts reviewing wind turbine noise and whether it affects peoples’ health.
Honorary Fellow of the UK’s Institute of Acoustics Dr Geoff Leventhall joined independent experts in medicine, public health, audiology and acoustics to examine the scientific validity of reports on the adverse health effects of wind turbine sound.
He is speaking about the syndrome at the IOA’s Wind Turbine Noise meeting in Cardiff on Wednesday January 27.
According to the expert panel, whose findings were published recently in “Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects”, evidence showed that “wind turbine syndrome” was based on “misinterpretation” of physiological data.
“Allegations of adverse health effects from wind turbines are as yet unproven.”
Features of the “so-called syndrome” (such as headaches, nausea and panic attacks) “were more likely associated with annoyance to low sound levels” said the review, commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
The symptoms were “not new and have been published previously in the context of ‘annoyance’ to environmental sounds.”
The syndrome, referred to in recent newspaper articles as a health risk associated with noise and vibration from large turbines, was “not a recognised medical diagnosis”, the report said.
It also concluded that:
•There is no evidence that audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects;
•Ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by or to affect people;
•Sound from wind turbines does not pose a risk of hearing loss.
However, studies in Europe showed that the fluctuating aerodynamic “swishing” noise some blades made as they disturbed the air was “the cause of most sound complaints regarding wind turbines, as it is harder to become accustomed to fluctuating sound than to sound that does not fluctuate.”
The expert panel’s objective was to provide a reference document for legislators, regulators and others wanting to make sense of conflicting information about wind turbine noise.
Members reviewed potential environmental exposures associated with wind turbine operations, focusing on low frequency sound, infrasound and vibration.
“Wind turbines produce low levels of infrasound and low frequency sound, yet there is no credible scientific evidence that these levels are harmful.”

So-called “wind turbine syndrome” has been rejected by a panel of experts reviewing wind turbine noise and whether it affects peoples’ health.

Honorary Fellow of the UK’s Institute of Acoustics Dr Geoff Leventhall joined independent experts in medicine, public health, audiology and acoustics to examine the scientific validity of reports on the adverse health effects of wind turbine sound.

He is speaking about the syndrome at the IOA’s Wind Turbine Noise meeting in Cardiff on Wednesday January 27.

According to the expert panel, whose findings were published recently in “Wind Turbine Sound and Health Effects”, evidence showed that “wind turbine syndrome” was based on “misinterpretation” of physiological data.

“Allegations of adverse health effects from wind turbines are as yet unproven.”

Features of the “so-called syndrome” (such as headaches, nausea and panic attacks) “were more likely associated with annoyance to low sound levels” said the review, commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

The symptoms were “not new and have been published previously in the context of ‘annoyance’ to environmental sounds.”

The syndrome, referred to in recent newspaper articles as a health risk associated with noise and vibration from large turbines, was “not a recognised medical diagnosis”, the report said.

It also concluded that:

•There is no evidence that audible or sub-audible sounds emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects;

•Ground-borne vibrations from wind turbines are too weak to be detected by or to affect people;

•Sound from wind turbines does not pose a risk of hearing loss.

However, studies in Europe showed that the fluctuating aerodynamic “swishing” noise some blades made as they disturbed the air was “the cause of most sound complaints regarding wind turbines, as it is harder to become accustomed to fluctuating sound than to sound that does not fluctuate.”

The expert panel’s objective was to provide a reference document for legislators, regulators and others wanting to make sense of conflicting information about wind turbine noise.

Members reviewed potential environmental exposures associated with wind turbine operations, focusing on low frequency sound, infrasound and vibration.

“Wind turbines produce low levels of infrasound and low frequency sound, yet there is no credible scientific evidence that these levels are harmful.”

Source British Institute of Acoustics

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The talk, accompanied by a slideshow, and the question + answer session that follows, will probably take about three hours depending on the number of people and the time frame allowed.

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