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Honda turbines may break guidelines for noise  

Credit:  By David Wiles, www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk 11 October 2011 ~~

A leading acoustics consultant is calling for Honda’s wind turbines plans to be rejected because it claims they could cause unacceptable night time noise at some properties.

Honda and green energy firm Eco-tricity have applied to build three 120-metre turbines at the car plant, in South Marston, as part of a bid to cut its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.

But campaigners claim the turbines would not only have a negative visual impact but also produce noise and vibrations which would harm health.

Now Mas Environmental has sent a report to Swindon Council, in which it suggests the plans should be refused until noise can be mitigated at certain properties and until more information about wind shear can be provided.

After reassessing the methodology of the noise impact assessment submitted with the application, the consultant has concluded that noise at some locations would breach turbine noise limits.

Mas Environmental, which was commissioned by campaign group Ill Wind, has extensive experience of measuring and assessing noise from wind turbines for developers, objectors and councils.

Ill Wind member Andy West, 45, of Stratton, said: “What residents have long been saying has now been justified by an acoustics company with far greater expertise in this field than the council and Halcrow.”

The report says the noise impact assessment does not include the standard “uncertainty factor” of plus or minus three decibels in its noise predictions.

If applied, the consultant says, the extra three decibels would breach turbine noise limits at Greenfields and Highworth Road, both in South Marston.

The report says the inclusion of the uncertainty factor also means there is “insufficient” headroom between predicted noise levels and turbine noise limits at night time at Highworth Road, Fitzwarren House, Catsbrain Farm, Stratton St Margaret, and South Marston. Mr West said not including the three decibels means the assessment does not comply with the national noise standard for wind turbines in the UK and therefore also not with national planning regulations.

He said: “If councillors now pass the wind turbines, there’s a strong possibility they will be in breach of national planning regulations.”

A special meeting of the planning committee to determine the application will take place at the Wyvern Theatre on Thursday at 6pm, with doors opening at 5pm. To register to speak at the meeting, email Iain Tucker, the committee officer, at itucker@swindon.gov.uk or call 01793 463605. The deadline is noon tomorrow.

An Ecotricity spokesman said: “Our monitoring of the existing background noise levels at a range of locations around the proposed Honda site has been carried out using Government recognised methodology and reviewed on behalf of Swindon Council by an independent consultancy which agrees with our conclusions.

“It found that there would be no adverse impact on local residents through noise from the turbines.

“The monitoring shows that current noise levels already exceed those stated by anti campaigners as a potential problem, because of factors such as the nearby A419. So any sound from the turbines would not be heard over the existing background noise. All this information is in detail in our Environ-mental Impact Assessment, which forms part of the application submitted to Swindon Council in July 2010.

“The wind turbines we propose to use are amongst the quietest in the world, as they are Direct Drive with no gearbox. They are already working successfully at locations around the world.”

Source:  By David Wiles, www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk 11 October 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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