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Wind Farm Noise and Human Perception: A Review  

Author:  | Health, Noise, Regulations

The hypothesis from this Review is that serious harm to health occurs when a susceptible individual is so beset by the noise in question that he or she suffers recurring sleep disturbance, anxiety and stress. Research for the Review suggests that 5% to 10% of the individuals living in the vicinity of a large wind farm will experience serious harm to their health. The observed markers for serious health effects are

  1. wind farm noise level of LAeq 32 dB or more outside the residence and
  2. wind farm noise is heard or is perceptible (felt) at levels above the individual’s threshold of hearing inside the home.

CONTENTS

PART I – INTRODUCTION

Inappropriate land-use planning
The problems with wind farm noise and its perception
Ineffective compliance approvals

PART II – A CASE STUDY

A rural wind farm
Prediction of wind farm sound levels
case study with a Waubra residence
Background sound levels
The effects of weather
Audible sound character
Sound character at residence and near locale
Conclusions from Waubra case study

PART III – WIND FARMS AND HEALTH EFFECTS

PART IV – WIND TURBINE SOUND

Basic measures
Wind farm noise
Low frequency sound and infrasound
Heightened noise zones

PART V – PREDICTION OF SOUND LEVELS – APPROACHES AND LIMITATIONS

Consideration of variable wind conditions
Wind farm noise standards

PART VI – RESPONSES OF RESIDENTS NEAR WIND FARMS

Community and individual noise exposure
The effects on people near the Waubra wind farm, Victoria
The effects on people near the “West Wind’ wind farm, New Zealand
The effects on people near the ‘Te Rere Hau’ wind farm, New Zealand
Real-world noise compliance problem at a wind farm
The effects on people near the proposed Turitea wind farm, New Zealand
The Effects on people near the Waterloo wind farm, South Australia

PART VII – INDIVIDUALS’ PERCEPTION OF WIND FARM SOUNDS

Introduction
The Manawatu–Brisbane pilot study
A study of noise sensitivity vs. specific sounds
Noise annoyance
Makara and Waubra studies into adverse health effects
Community perception and acceptance of wind farms

PART VIII – ANNOYANCE, AUDIBILITY, LOW AND INFRASOUND PERCEPTION

Amenity and costs imposed by rural wind farms
Sound perception
Annoyance
Audibility – low frequency – infrasound

PART IX – MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS

Character of sound

PART X – NOISE MANAGEMENT

PART XI – GLOSSARY

RECOMMENDED READING

Wind Farm Noise and Human Perception: A Review – May 2014 Update

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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