Noise Nuisance

Noise nuisance

Click here to hear nighttime turbine noise


Interview with resident suffering windfarm noise

Because experience of noise is dependent on how far one is from the turbine, the distance the turbine is from dwellings is crucial in planning. Unfortunately it is one area where guidance if there is any specific guidance at all, varies from district to district. The letter to those that would be affected in the Edington/North Covert proposal state that they would be no closer than 500m. See the section on residential setback distances for more information.

Noise can come from the mechanism of the turbine itself, plus aerodynamic noise and low frequency sound, which can be the most disturbing and the cause of significant complaint. Turbine noise would appear to be louder at nighttime and therefore have a persistent effect on sleep. See the section on health effects.

ETSU-R-97: The Assessment & Rating of Noise from Wind Farms
The rules were produced in 1997 by a working group which recommended that they be reviewed after a year. However no review of the rules has since taken place. There have been many complaints about excessive noise from turbines.

  • The rules permit more noise at night than during the day.
  • The noise levels permitted for wind farms are higher than for other industries.
  • Noise levels permitted in the UK for wind farms are higher than World Health Authority recommendations.

Night time limits
The rules permit 43dB of noise at night in quiet areas. This may be 4 times louder than the background noise before the wind farm is built.

Daytime noise limits
5dB above the background levels, measured by the developer, when he chooses to do so.

Background noise measurements
These are crucial because the wind farm is allowed to be 5dB noisier. Woodlane background noise was measured during harvest, the most intensive and the noisiest period in arable farming. A period during which the noise from farming activity can be annoying. Adding 5dB to this guarantees that people will be annoyed by turbine noise.

Measurement excludes the louder swish sound
The ETSU noise measurement is specified so that it excludes the swish. This can be much louder and is the source of most complaints.

TURBINE NOISE – Active Cases

Case 1 – Den Brook Legal Challenge
This is a proposal for a wind farm near Okehampton in Devon. It all started in 2005 when the developer took background noise measurements.

The developer initially refused to provide the data and was later found to have not taken the measurements correctly.

Local weather conditions are such that there is expected to be “amplitude modulation” effects which are the cause of the more serious noise complaints from wind farms.

While the wind farm has now been approved the local campaign group are taking the case to the High Court to ensure that the conditions which are required to force the developer to limit Amplitude Modulation are robust.

To find out more information follow the link

Case 2 – Davis family, forced to leave their home because of wind turbine noise.
After years of seeking a resolution to the problem the case reached the High Court in 2011, and eventually was settled out of court on November 30th 2011.

The Davis family maintained that the noise was sometimes so severe that they could not sleep in their home. They moved out and were advised by Estate Agents that their property was un-saleable. The landowner and wind farm operator argued that they had become “unduly sensitive “ to the noise. The farmer who lives a similar distance from the nearest turbine says he never hears them in his home. A statement for the defence was that it was “reasonable” for the wind farm operators to continue to operate an enterprise “in which they have substantial commercial interests while continuing to seek to address the claimants’ concerns about adverse impact.”

Follow the link to read a statement from Mrs Davis.