National noise standards that govern wind farms are to be reviewed.
Fraser Clark, chief executive of industry group the Wind Energy Association, said a committee of experts had been set up to review the 10-year-old NZS6808, which sets limits for all environmental noise.
Members would include representatives from the health and environment ministries, local government, community boards and universities.
Wind farm opponents complain that the noise standard is inadequate for measuring the types and levels of noise created by wind turbines. Acoustic experts say the standard is suitable, a view shared by the Environment Court.
The public will be invited to make submissions on the committee’s draft recommendations.
Mr Clark said his association genuinely cared about people upset by noise, but complaints about loud noise or low-frequency sound from turbines tended to come from people who did not like them on the landscape.
“With regard to infrasound, there is a significant, and increasing, body of reputable and peer-reviewed research that shows that the level of any infrasound created by a wind turbine is well below the level that might cause any risks to health.”
The Brock family in Ashhurst, near Palmerston North, have been asked by Meridian Energy to record Te Apiti turbine noise that the family say has been making life a misery for the past four years.
Wendy Brock says the family have been suffering from both loud noise and low-frequency sound that comes up through the floor of their house, causing weeks on end of sleepless nights.
Wellington consultant engineer John Third said wind turbines created a broad and complex spectrum of noise.
The problem was beyond the expertise of acoustic engineers, and the health effects were a matter for audiologists, not engineers, he said.
11 July 2008
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