Library filed under Noise from Europe
Andrew Randall lives in King's Dyke, Whittlesey, with his pregnant partner Rachel Barford and one-year-old daughter Aimee, just 100 yards from the towering machine. He said the constant noise from the turning blades is causing sleepless nights and stress for Rachel, who is four months pregnant. Mr Randall (23) said: "Rachel's stressed all the time and she can't cope with the lack of sleep. I'm concerned about the health of the baby. ..."We've got a hot tub in the back garden, but it's a waste because we can't go out there, it's just too noisy."
Noise control officers may be powerless to stop work on a wind farm causing sleepless nights for residents. People living on the seafront in Clacton and Holland-on-Sea have been woken up in the early hours by thudding, drilling and vibrations. The noise is being caused by building work at a new wind farm at Gunfleet Sands, 9km off the coast of Clacton.
Homeowners in Aberdeenshire hoping to install domestic wind turbines in built-up areas are likely to have their applications rejected unless manufacturers provide the council with information detailing their impact, a councillor warned yesterday. Garioch area committee chairman Martin Kitts-Hayes made the comment following the "very reluctant rejection" of proposals to erect a turbine at a home at Kinmuck, near Inverurie. The committee is now planning to write a letter to companies who make the machinery, urging them to provide facts and figures on expected noise levels.
Government departments responsible for the increase in onshore wind turbines are using staff from energy companies to advise them on noise and safety issues. Concerns have been raised that the potential conflict of interest, denied by the civil servants, could result in the Government making policy decisions which directly benefit turbine manufacturers and energy companies. Guidance on noise issues was sent to planning inspectors as a result of Government meetings which in one case were chaired by a representative of RWE npower.
Her family suffered severe sleep deprivation and were forced to move out to a rented house in Spalding. She said: "This result is excellent for everybody who has had their lives devastated by noise, both audible and low frequency, from wind farms. "I think it's a very fair result and the tribunal was well aware it was being asked to make a national precedent. "This is one battle won but there's still the rest of the war to go."
A couple have won their fight to lower the council tax banding on their property, which dropped in value after wind turbines were built nearby. Julian and Jane Davis, along with their daughter Emily, had to endure endless sleepless nights after a wind farm, with turbines 100 metres high, was built less than 900 metres away from their home. In May 2007, the family abandoned their Deeping St Nicholas home and rented a property in Spalding five miles away. However, the house became un-sellable because of the problems created by the turbines.
A couple who say their home has been blighted by noise from a wind farm have won a 20% reduction in council tax because the house's value has dropped. ...Although investigators sent by the Lincolnshire Valuation Tribunal to measure noise levels did not find any problems, the panel conceded the construction of the windfarm "had had a significant detrimental effect on the appellants' quiet enjoyment of their properties. "The tribunal therefore found that the nuisance caused by the wind farm was real and not imagined and it would have had some effect upon the potential sale price of the appeal dwellings."
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.
At a lively meeting in which the Princes contingent were often heckled and saw one couple walk out, objections centred around increased noise and health and safety issues. Paul Jackson, general manager of the Princes plant, said the turbine would reduce the firm's energy costs. He said: "We need to be as competitive as we can in what can be a very aggressive and competitive market.
An energy company has pulled out of plans to build a wind farm in Rhondda due to concerns over noise. E.On and community group Arts Factory wanted to build the eight-turbine wind farm between the Rhondda Fach and Fawr, near Ferndale. But E.On said it was worried that the project could potentially pose a "noise nuisance" to nearby homes. Arts Factory said it was looking for a new partner so that it could continue with the scheme.
A family forced to move home because of the noise generated by a nearby wind turbine have given evidence to the House of Lords. Jane and Julian Davis were plagued by sleepless nights when they lived close to the wind farm at Deeping St Nicholas and eventually moved out. They were recently told that their house was unmarketable and now live in Spalding. They documented their wind turbine nightmare and sent evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which is investigating the economics of renewable energy.
The Windfarm perception project shows that the sound of wind turbines causes relatively much annoyance. The sound is perceived at relatively low levels and is thought to be more annoying than equally loud air or road traffic. This may be caused by the swishing character of the sound or because at night it does not decrease in strength -which is usually the case for traffic noise. Also in this study more disturbance of sleep occurs at the highest sound levels that occurred in this study. ...In the WINDFARM perception project, supervised by Frits van den Berg, the perception was investigated of modern, tall wind turbines by Dutch residents. The study shows that sound from wind farms is an important disadvantage of wind energy which in itself is positively appreciated by a majority of the participants.
This report gives the results of the EU financed study WINDFARMpertception on how residents perceive a wind farm in their living environment as far as sound and sight are concerned. The study includes a postal survey among Dutch residents (n = 725, response rate: 37%) and an assessment of their aural and visual exposure due to wind farms in their vicinity.
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.
Jane and Julian Davis left their Deeping St Nicholas home at Christmas 2006 after months of sleepless nights due to noise and vibration from the turbines, which are less than 1km from their house. However, there is a way forward at last after complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman over the handling of their issue by South Holland District Council, and monitoring of noise levels will now take place once more to establish the extent of the issue. Mrs Davis said: "Now we start all over again - but at last it is being accepted there are issues.
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.
This document authored by Acoustic Ecology Institute provides a comprehensive overview of noise issues pertaining to utility-scale wind energy development. This AEI Special Report will be continually updated, incorporating new research, more recent reports, and suggestions/comments from readers. Planned topics to be added over time include: effects of noise on wildlife and habitat, offshore wind energy, and the health effects of chronic noise exposure.