Are wind farms too close to communities?
by Steven Cooper of The Acoustic Group Pty Ltd
This important paper by acoustics expert, Steven Cooper, challenges the current standards for siting wind turbines in Australia.
Currently, state planning legislation in Australia suggests separation distances of 1-2km from wind farms. Noise limits incorporated in the various State guidelines and used for assessment purposes have no scientific studies to support the basis of the limits. The use of a dB(A) limit set well above the natural ambient background level does not protect the health and well-being of the community. The noise concepts used for wind farms in NSW ignore the fundamental premise of not creating ‘offensive noise' as defined in The Protection of the Environment Operations Act. Examination of ‘noise levels' received by residents in proximity to wind farms reveals the presence of audible and inaudible sound that extends well past the nominal separation distances of 1-2km. The silence of the individual state Environmental Protection Authorities in addressing these issues is deafening.