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Pragmatic view of a wind turbine noise standard

New Zealand Standard 6808:2010 Acoustics – Wind farm noise is unique in that it acknowledges, up front under committee representation, that a representative of a university involved in its development does not support the Standard. Since that time a number of papers and presentations have decried this opposition to the Standard without giving the committee member the privilege of comment or reply. This paper is to put the record straight and explain why the Standard is not supported. Wind farms may well be a viable alternative energy source, but the effects of noise immissions on the health of people living within several kilometres of the wind farms is becoming a concern. The noise level from a wind farm may be quite low, but its characteristics compared to that of the normal background sound make it stand out as something quite different. Often the sound is heard more clearly indoors than outside due to its ability to excite room resonances, making it an irritant causing severe loss of sleep and extreme annoyance. New Zealand Standard 6808:2010 closely follows that used in Britain and parts of Europe, even though there are clear indications that the criteria to be met do not fully conform with World Health Organization recommendations, and the method used is likely mathematically, scientifically and ethically wrong. This Standard and similar standards across the world are clearly biased towards cost effective wind farm development, and it appears public health concerns are not being given enough attention.

Philip J Dickinson
College of Sciences, Massey University Wellington, New Zealand

Updated from paper presented at Acoustics 2009 [1], 23-25 November 2009, Adelaide, Australia

Download “A pragmatic view of a wind turbine noise standard” [2]