An Ashhurst family have been asked to record noise from wind turbines they say are making life a misery.
The Brock family, who have complained about loud noise and low-frequency sound from Meridian Energy’s Te Apiti wind farm since 2004, say Meridian has now sent them a recorder and microphone to use on days the turbines are especially noisy.
Wendy Brock said the recorder would catch the roar of the turbines during strong easterlies, but would not register the low-frequency sound that sometimes wrecked her family’s sleep for weeks on end.
The low-frequency noise – known as infrasound – comes up through the wooden floor of her family home 2.5 kilometres from the nearest of 55 turbines, and manifests itself as a throbbing beat in the ears, chest or spine.
“We had a really bad January and February,” she said. “May was not too bad, but usually, July is a shocker.”
Meridian had promised her the turbines would not be any louder than waves on a shore.
In its application for the wind farm, Meridian said “the effects of the noise from the wind turbines at the boundaries of the site are … considered to be no more than minor”.
However, a survey by Robyn Phipps, a senior lecturer in building technology at Massey University, found that households living more than 10 kilometres from Te Apiti and other turbines in the Tararua and Ruahine ranges were also disturbed by their noise.
National noise standards did not measure infrasound or take into account atmospheric effects, cumulative noise or the nature of wind turbine noise, Dr Phipps told a hearing for the Motorimu wind farm near Palmerston North last year.
Meridian spokeswoman Claire Shaw said every complaint about turbine noise was taken very seriously.
Very few complaints had been received about Te Apiti, she said. Meridian had commissioned an independent report last year that concluded all noise from Te Apiti was within national standards.
9 July 2008
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