The noise monitoring regime for the Te Rere Hau wind farm near Palmerston North could soon be beefed up significantly.
Wind farm owner New Zealand Windfarms and Palmerston North City Council have been negotiating over what the regime will involve as the two parties continue to prepare for an Environment Court hearing.
The Manawatu Standard has been told the monitoring could include residents close to the farm being given a device that enables them to identify intrusive noises and have them measured.
NZ Windfarms chief executive Chris Sadler said the extra measures, which went beyond normal monitoring, would not be cheap, but the company was looking to be positive in its relations with the community.
An agreement to boost noise monitoring came after the city council applied to the Environment Court for stricter rules amid doubt over the farm’s compliance with noise limits.
Despite hundreds of complaints from residents close to the farm, Mr Sadler remained confident his company complied with its resource consent.
“I have no fears of measurement and data collection,” he said.
Residents near the farm have consistently complained about what they describe as “whining mechanical noise”, “droning” and “humming”.
After a meeting in Wellington at the end of last year, the city council and NZ Windfarms agreed it was desirable to have “current and reliable data on the acoustic performance of the Te Rere Hau wind farm including additional data on the background noise environment”.
NZ Windfarms is to start the monitoring as soon as noise experts have finalised the details of the regime.
The city council nominated six properties as candidates for more compliance testing.
It is expected the wind farm will have to be shut down at times so that background sound can be assessed.
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