Documents from UK
In 2006 the UK Government published a crucial report on wind turbine noise and its effects on nearby residents. The study, conducted by acoustics noise and vibration consultants Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP), has since been used to support the position that existing Government wind farm noise guidelines were adequate and that there are no health ramifications of turbine noise at neighbouring dwellings. Mr. Mike Hulme of the Den Brook Judicial Review Group, a group of local residents opposing a wind turbine development close to their houses in Devon in the UK, submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking to see all draft versions of the Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP). The documents were finally released to Mr. Hulme and they reveal that the final published report silently removed earlier recommendations on noise. A summary of Mr. Hulme's findings, including three drafts of the study report can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
In a book released today, Dr. John Etherington - former Reader in Ecology, Thomas Huxley Medallist at the Royal College of Science and former co-editor of the Journal of Ecology - argues that wind farm technology is a wholly counter-productive and undesirable response to the problems of climate change and electricity generation.
This report presents a highly important contribution to the conservation of golden eagles in Europe. A penetrating analysis of data from all golden eagle territories in Scotland has yielded a clear picture of the constraints on this bird. In particular, the sustained persecution of golden eagles in some areas and the consequences of heavy grazing pressure in the west are significant issues which must be addressed to allow golden eagles to attain favourable conservation status. The main findings of the report are presented below. The full report can be accessed by selecting the links on this page.
This useful paper examines the some of the developing research around wind turbine noise and "swish/thump" characteristic frequently reported by people living near the turbines. The introduction and conclusion of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Political and energy analyst, Tony Lodge, presents a critical analysis of the United Kingdom's renewable energy policy which is heavily reliant on industrial-scale wind power.
This important research paper analyzes the power output characteristics of the wind energy generation supply in Britain over an extended period of time. The abstract and conclusion of the paper are shown below. To access the full report which includes many graphs of data, click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Wind turbines are known to produce shadow flicker by interruption of sunlight by the turbine blades. Known parameters of the seizure provoking effect of flicker, i.e., contrast, frequency, mark-space ratio, retinal area stimulated and percentage of visual cortex involved were applied to wind turbine features. The proportion of patients affected by viewing wind turbines expressed as distance in multiples of the hub height of the turbine showed that seizure risk does not decrease significantly until the distance exceeds 100 times the hub height. Since risk does not diminish with viewing distance, flash frequency is therefore the critical factor and should be kept to a maximum of three per second, i.e., sixty revolutions per minute for a three-bladed turbine. On wind farms the shadows cast by one turbine on another should not be viewable by the public if the cumulative flash rate exceeds three per second. Turbine blades should not be reflective.
Jane Davis of the UK tracked problems with noise from a wind farm located 930 meters from her home. Her daily log, accessed by clicking on the link below, covers the period from summer 2006 to summer 2007. She and her family have since abandoned their home due to health issues related to the noise.
This Appeal Decision prepared by Robin Brooks BA (Hons) MRTPI an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government provides detailed arguments on why the appeal was denied. Several categories of interest are covered including these main issues:
Julian and Jane Davis reside on a farm in the Fens in Lincolnshire England. Shortly following the construction of a wind farm within 1000 meters of their home they had started to hear the noise of the turbines. This important paper, presented at the Wind Turbine Noise conference Sep 20-21, 2007, in Lyon, France, documents the “devastating effects of wind turbine noise pollution when wind farms are sited too close to homes or otherwise inappropriately sited.”
Based on these findings, Government does not consider there to be a compelling case for further work into AM and will not carry out any further research at this time; however it will continue to keep the issue under review. Government continues to support the approach set out in Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 22 - Renewable Energy. This approach is for local planning authorities to "ensure that renewable energy developments have been located and designed in such a way to minimise increases in ambient noise levels", through the use of the 1997 report by ETSU to assess and rate noise from wind energy developments.
This document does not question whether we should be developing windfarms or should not be developing windfarms, or even whether they look good on a landscape or are a visual intrusion on the landscape. We are simply addressing the methodology used by the windfarm industry, who in our opinion, have been using misleading methods for the last 11 years whilst seeking to obtain planning permission. Having had more than 15 years experience in producing visualisations for planning applications, both here and in other parts of the world, what we see happening throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK is a method of visual presentation which brings our profession into disrepute. After many years of fighting for fairer standards, something has to be done because of the growing public perception that photomontage is unreliable.
Link to recent program aired in the UK
An indictment of the Scottish Executive and regulatory incompetence and indifference......‘One is left with a clear impression of inertia, bungling, duplicity, poor communication, procrastination, obfuscation and, quite frankly, shoddy and incorrect decision-taking both in temporal and technical terms'.
Environmental Conservation 34 (1): 1-11 © 2007 Foundation for Environmental Conservation, Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK Date submitted: 3 May 2006 Date accepted: 5 December 2006 First published online: 14 February 2007
The important paper reviews research articles within the field of acoustics concerning the acoustic properties of wind turbines and noise and recommends a safe buffer zone of at least 2 km between turbines and residential dwellings. The abstract of this paper is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower. However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”