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Wind turbine noise complaints in Aberdeenshire  

Credit:  Concerned About Wind Turbines, www.cawt.co.uk 24 July 2011 ~~

Noise complaints about 1 in 3 Formartine wind energy developments.

Data supplied by Aberdeenshire Council Environmental Health Department shows that complaints about wind turbine noise in Formartine are double the national average.

In March 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported that there are noise complaints about 1 in 6 UK wind farms.

In Formartine alone, approximately 18 commercial wind energy developments have been constructed. The data from Aberdeenshire Council shows that there are unresolved noise complaints against 6 of them, double the national average.

There are further unresolved noise complaints at 1 wind farm in Buchan, 1 in Marr and 1 in Banff and Buchan. All of the complaints relate to turbines of at least 50m/164ft height.

Although Aberdeenshire Council did not divulge the locations of the wind farms about which the complaints have been made, correspondence received at CAWT suggests that some of the complaints have been lodged against wind farms at Cairnmore (Rhynie), Skelmonae (Methlick), Newstead (Cuminestown) and Hill of Easterton (Rothienorman). CAWT also understands that a number of these complaints have been ongoing for months, with at least one complaint being unresolved for over a year.

CAWT believes that the number of sites with noise complaints is a result of Aberdeenshire Council having the shortest separation distance between large turbines and homes of any local authority in Scotland. In Fife, the separation distance is 2 km; in Perth and Kinross it is 20 times turbine height; in Aberdeenshire, it is 400 metres.

CAWT also believes that the number of complaints indicates that developers’ desk-based noise predictions are proving to be inaccurate once turbines are installed and operational. Many developers’ desk-based noise predictions are often performed by personnel with no recognised acoustic engineering qualifications – it is hardly surprising therefore, that turbine noise in real-life is somewhat different to the PC desktop where the predictions are made.

The existing noise guidelines for wind turbines, ETSU-R-97, were prepared 15 years ago at a time when wind turbines were considerably smaller than today’s machines which are typically at least 80m/262ft tall. ETSU-R-97 was supposed to be revised several years ago, but no revision has ever been made. Meanwhile, turbines grow ever larger – Enercon’s E-126 model is almost 200m/656ft tall – and developers in Aberdeenshire push for the largest turbine they can get because they ‘will make a great deal more money.’

In Australia, the Waubra Foundation has recommended a 10km separation distance between wind turbines and homes, until more research is undertaken into the effects of turbine noise on human health. In Aberdeenshire, Planners and Councillors continue to work to the 400 metre separation distance guideline.

With complaints about one-third of wind farms in Formartine already, and with more wind farms being approved in Aberdeenshire almost every month, how many more residents must suffer the impacts of wind turbine noise before Aberdeenshire Council treats the issue of wind turbine noise with the seriousness it merits?

Source:  Concerned About Wind Turbines, www.cawt.co.uk 24 July 2011

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

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