Noise and UK
Now it transpires that the original planning application could not have proceeded, but for a Government cover-up relating to turbine noise.
The Sunday Times revealed that in 2006 the Hayes-McKenzie partnership (HMP) produced a report for government that recommended a very large reduction in permissible noise levels from 43 to 38 decibels.
We had a meeting last week in the village of Gwyddgrug, recently overshadowed by ten 110-metre high wind turbines. ...most of the talk was of people who can't sleep because of the thrum of the turbines. One family told of a visitor who, unable to stand it any longer, got up and left in the middle of the night.
This weekend it was revealed that a report commissioned by a government department into the noise made by wind turbines and the effect on those who live near them had been quietly doctored. In 2006, the acoustics firm Hayes Mackenzie was commissioned to measure noise on three wind farms.
Its findings were most inconvenient. The noise made by the turbines was significantly higher than those foreseen in the Government's 1996 guidelines.
We measured industry noise at night under low and medium wind conditions. We found, in front of the boundary fence of an industrial plant we measured, a sound pressure level of 52 dBA. Then, 1500 m away, we measured the same noise at the same value (52 dBA), implying that the noise is hardly attenuated by distance. This is an extraordinary result and it took calculations for us to appreciate that the combination of a temperature inversion (where the ground is colder than the air) and the wind had caused the plant noise to travel significantly further than usual.
We further discovered that our findings were actually quite well known - the phenomena is not new.
Despite repeated requests, no-one on the "pro" side will tell us how much electricity is generated by these devices when the wind fails to blow; the best answer we get is that they can be sited where the wind never does fail, but even if such an onshore site exists it is not claimed that the wind-force is consistent throughout the day.
Secondly, we are told that they emit only 20dB of noise which, assuming it is true, may seem - and indeed is - trivial.
But the term "dB" is widely misunderstood ...I would question the figure, as I have stood within earshot of just one of these things and "whisper" it did not; moreover, the sound of a "farmyard" full of the creatures can be readily imagined.
As I am Jane Davis, I hope you will allow me the time honoured right to reply to this gentleman's statements.
Noise pollution from the Wind Farm 930 metres from our home has indeed caused us to abandon our home and rent a house 5 miles away.
Not an easy decision to make when your home is on your farm. ...The Local Government Ombudsman has only yesterday decided that our situation needs proper investigation, with all facts available to all parties and this is to happen in the near future. She is however concerned that the planning condition for noise "put in place to protect local residents" and based on the industry standard ETSU-R-97, is "Vague, open to interpretation, immeasurable and thus unenforceable".
WHOOSH, whoosh, whoosh. Or should that be whump, whump, whump? I'm trying to imagine what life might be like living next door to a wind farm. A few weeks back I put an offer in on a house with splendid views of the Borders countryside. Then I found out a planning application is under consideration for eight 100ft turbines on a hill just a mile away from the dream cottage. Oh, the irony. Having waxed lyrical about renewable energy, there's no way I can object to turbines being put up. So why can't I get the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now out of my head? The slow, repetitive whoosh of helicopters has been translated from Vietnam to rural Roxburghshire.
The main cause of the 'Nam flashbacks are the articles I've read about low-frequency noise.
My home is downwind of the predominant wind direction from the Deeping St Nicholas wind farm.
We have had to abandon our home as a place to live in as we were no longer able to sleep at home.
The wind farm became operational in June 2006 and we suffered the same effects.
It is becoming increasingly clear because of 'wind shear effects' no turbines should be erected on the eastern counties of England (Professor Fritz van den berg in Lyon at the International Wind Turbine Noise Conference2007.
Likewise with these huge turbines we have to take into consideration all the effects they will have on the environment around them. This includes the roads, the foundations of the turbines, the converter station in the Kergord valley, the quarries and the shadows. The flickering shadow from these turbines when the sun is at a low ark of 20 degrees would be in the region of a quarter of a mile long. Up to now the huge destructive visual impact of this oversized proposal has been my main objection, however during the last few weeks my view has changed. ...However what has disturbed me more than anything is the sound of the turbines. This is not so much the actual decibels as the deep vibratory effect of the turning blades that seemed to penetrate my very being. Call me a wimp but I have not been able to spend much longer than an hour up there without feeling distressed, disorientated and nauseous.
I would like to draw your attention to an article on P.35 of the "NFU Countryside" magazine (November 2007 issue) that describes the noise from a wind farm near Deeping St Nicholas that is 930 metres from a farm house.
It is so bad that the farm tenants (Julian and Jane Davis) have to rent another house in Spalding in which to sleep. The problem is "amplitude modulation" caused by the blades moving in and out of synchronisation and causing noise they describe as "like four helicopters circling above your property or an approaching train". ...I am, in principle, in favour of wind farms but when you visit Holland, Germany and other European countries with a far higher density of wind farms you will very quickly notice that they are sited well away from any habitation.
Standing in a home a kilometer away from the nearest wind turbine --one of seventeen at the Pubnico Point Wind Farm in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia --Tony experiences a sensation that he describes as "similar to being close to a high power car audio sound system playing drums. Both situations cause problems that I would say resemble arrhythmia." ...One potential problem associated with wind power is noise, like that experienced by Tony. In some locations, residents living near wind farms find the sound to be an annoyance. A few, reporting acute and persistent health problems, have abandoned their homes, unable to sell them.
The windfarm became operational early last June, and within three days we started having problems with the noise and hum emanating from it. ...As a result of our difficulties we have been forced to find an alternative place to sleep - our sleeping house, five miles away in Spalding itself - so we have effectively abandoned our home.
Our house, which would previously have been worth about £180,000 is now likely to have a value of just the land - £35-50,000 and would not be marketable as a home for people to live in any longer.
Indeed, the final paragraph of the summary of the report says: "The low incidence of AM and the low numbers of people adversely affected make it difficult to justify further research funding in preference to other more widespread noise issues. On the other hand, since AM cannot be fully predicted at present, and its causes are not fully understood, we consider it might be prudent to carry out further research to improve understanding in this area."
In normal circumstances, if 20% of a product released in the public domain was found to be faulty it would be withdrawn.
Our experience shows that there is a real noise problem, which can be severe. Unfortunately, it is clear that existing regulations are not adequate to protect people, and until this whole noise phenomenon is better understood and regulated we feel that Councils and wind developers should be exercising the Precautionary Principle. Large wind turbines should not be permitted close to residential areas.
Does the BWEA think it unreasonable that SWATT request that the Welsh Assembly call a moratorium on wind farm development until independent surveys are executed on these vital issues. Concerning the election, our campaign resulted in us getting the issue onto the election agenda. And the two anti-TAN 8 main parties were the ones who gained seats in the elections.
Noise from our local wind farm 1,000 yards away has destroyed our lives.The constant swish would just about be bearable, but the thumps and whacks are not. And then there's the hum. We would do anything to be able to live and sleep in our own home again, but sadly, as our home is no longer worth anything, we are trapped. To sleep at night, we drive five miles to a quiet house we have rented.
The Government says noise pollution is an issue, albeit of low priority, but by allowing wind farms to be built close to homes (no less than two kilometres is the French recommendation) they are creating and propagating more noise pollution.
Those of us unfortunate enough to live or work near these so-called friendly giants lose everything.
Professor John Ffowcs Williams, a world acoustic expert at Cambridge University says modern very tall turbines do cause problems and guidelines fail adequately to protect the public.
Nicol Stephen the Deputy First Minister for Scotland, when standing beneath a newly commissioned turbine recently, said: "It was as noisy as being below the path of a very low flying aircraft."
Such a statement is highly significant when made by the Deputy First Minister who is a vigorous supporter of wind turbine energy.
Of course low flying aircraft move on, unfortunately wind turbines do not.
From Barton, Vermont, to the German border with Denmark and from the shores of Lake Huron, to the Romney Marches of southern England, wind power advocates are fighting crosswinds from local residents.
In Barton in mid-January, a referendum overwhelmingly rejected the wind power turbines that were planned near this upper Vermont community. ...In Germany, where one-third of the world's current wind power is generated, doubters have provoked a loud debate. The company that owns the grid that includes nearly half the wind-farms in Germany reported its wind farms generated only 11 percent of their capacity. The company said the winds vary so much the wind farm had to be backed 80 percent by the conventional power grid.