Thank you for covering the Assembly Petitions Committee Carmarthen meeting on the problem of noise from wind turbines.
This is an urgent matter in north Carmarthenshire, where three planning applications for more industrial wind turbines are being considered, before noise problems from the Statkraft turbines known as Alltwalis Windfarm are solved.
Noise issues can be very technical, but the nub of the matter is that turbine noise is regulated by a methodology drawn up in the mid-1990s when turbines were much smaller.
There are several ways to characterise wind turbine noise, and the methodology adopted by the UK government, and passed on by Welsh governments to local planning authorities, deals only with predictable noise.
On unpredictable noise, an acoustics expert from Statkraft’s own noise consultants Hoare Lea told a public meeting in Gwyddgrug that he hadn’t expected that the noise would wake people up. This acknowledges unpredictable elements in wind turbine noise, and that an unpredictable element affects Gwyddgrug and nearby.
The Welsh Government’s Wind Energy Programme requires the quality of life of turbine neighbours to be balanced against the supposed need for industrial wind turbines near homes. Such a balance is hard to achieve. It certainly needs a more robust mechanism to deliver it than current planning conditions allow. Above all it needs to ensure that people living near turbines are able to get a decent night’s sleep without recourse to medication.
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