Huffman told commissioners the problems were worst when wind speeds were low, particularly between 6 metres per second and 10m per second. She backed the city council's position, that there should be an 8m per second threshold before the turbines kick in at night. She also said subjective assessment was a legitimate way to monitor noise.
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The council and many residents living close to the proposed turbine site say the adverse effects on the nearest neighbours’ enjoyment of their properties were so significant the proposal should not proceed. Many of the concerns related to anticipated noise from the wind farm, despite the number of turbines having been reduced from three 90m structures to one 110m tall turbine. The likely harm to birdlife from the huge blades was also of concern.
Since a year ago, when independent commissioner Colin Weatherall refused consent for Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust’s planned three turbine wind farm, the number of turbines proposed has been reduced from three 90m tall structures to one 110m high turbine. Mr Weatherall said his decision was ‘‘significantly influenced’’ by the adverse effect the wind farm would have on the amenity and character of properties in Pryde Rd.
The Environment Court originally said that the wind farm was producing noise levels that breached its resource consent conditions. The council had sought a declaration from the court on whether Te Rere Hau complied with the noise conditions of its resource consent.