Northumberland County Council
11 June 2010
The Waterfalls, Birtley Wark, Hexham
Proposed Holiday Centre and Equestrian Development
Application Reference: 20090663
Thank you for your email of 3 June 2010.
In relation to the comments made by Mr Spencer, on behalf of the applicant, we would re-iterate our view made in our previous correspondence that a proper noise assessment is required before this proposal can be approved. We have some concerns that the 23dB attenuation figure suggested by the Council’s Public Protection Officer would not be sufficient for this development, given that the proposed holiday accommodation would not be able to achieve the levels of sound insulation that might reasonably be expected of a permanent dwelling house.
The applicant’s noise figures are derived from Wind Prospect’s own noise assessment of the Green Rigg turbines. As such, the noise levels were assessed at Waterfalls Farm, which is significantly further away from the Green Rigg wind farm than the proposed development. As a result, the noise levels at the proposed development are likely to be higher then the predicted levels and will require a much larger attenuation than the proposed level.
Moreover, this is a proposed holiday centre, where patrons would reasonably expect to sit outside to enjoy the relative peace and quiet of the countryside. The acoustical performance of the accommodation has no effect on the external noise levels. Noise from the permitted wind energy development will be very likely to provoke complaints, and this will place both the Environmental Health department and the wind farm operator in an impossible position: a complaint about noise could be found to be justified, and construed as a noise nuisance, even though the wind farm was operating lawfully within the constraints of its planning conditions.
Without a proper noise assessment, it is impossible to clarify exactly what attenuation would be sufficient, and no judgement can be made on the acceptability or otherwise of external noise levels. We would, therefore, urge the Council to request a proper assessment from the applicant.
[Green Rigg will consist of 18 2-MW turbines, five of them within 750 meters (2,460 ft, 0.47 mi) of the property, one as close as 450 meters (1,476 ft) from Waterfalls’ planned holiday chalets and cottages.]
Download original document: “Letter to Planning Department, Northumberland County Council”
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