An expert witness told a public inquiry this week it was “not ideal, but considered acceptable” that a few properties would be more affected by wind turbine noise at Auchtermuchty.
Dr Andrew McKenzie, who has worked in acoustical engineering for 25 years, gave evidence for EnergieKontor at the inquiry into the developer’s windfarm application at Rossie.
The inquiry before reporter David Gordon began at Auchtermuchty’s Victoria Hall on Tuesday and continued throughout the week, with closing submissions expected next Tuesday (January 22).
EnergieKontor appealed to the then Scottish Executive last year over Fife Council’s failure to determine its application for five wind turbines, leading to this week’s inquiry.
Fife Council is opposing the application, as are Auchtermuchty Landscape and Environment Group, Auchtermuchty and Strathmiglo Community Council, Clatto Land Protection Group and Auchtermuchty Community Association.
The inquiry’s opening two days dealt chiefly with the noise aspect of the proposal with later evidence given on landscape, planning and other issues.
Dr McKenzie said the turbines’ noise would not exceed the limits recommended by guidance ETSU-R-97.
The nighttime noise limit and the upper daytime limit would not be exceeded at any residential property, although the lower daytime limit would be exceeded at four houses.
“It is not ideal, but it is considered acceptable,” said Dr McKenzie during a lengthy cross-examination by council advocate Maurice O’Carroll.
“I conclude that there can be no sustainable objection to this scheme on noise grounds,” Dr McKenzie told the inquiry.
Two other noise experts, Robert Davis for Fife Council and Dick Bowdler for ALE, queried EnergieKontor’s use of the ETSU-R-97 guidance and the conclusions drawn.
Mr Davis said the application’s environmental statement made detailed noise predictions near only five houses, but there were about 40 houses within one kilometre of the site.
“By limiting the noise assessment to a small number of locations, the ES appears to give the impression that this is a sparsely-populated area, which is not the case,” he said in his precognition.
Mr Bowdler said there was no justification for using a higher nighttime level because at such a location day and night noise levels were dominated by the weather and so did not vary greatly.
“The spacing of turbines on this site is such that the possibility of excessive amplitude modulation (blade swish) at nearby properties causing annoyance and possibly statutory nuisance is unacceptably high,” he wrote in his submission.
By Janet Howie
17 January 2008