May 24, 2012

Noise pollution gets wind up public – poll

By Elaine Maslin, The Press and Journal, 24 May 2012

A new survey has found that noise rather than appearance is what puts people off wind turbines.

The poll, being released at the All-Energy conference in Aberdeen today, shows that one in four people were likely to be put off by noise from windfarms, compared to one in 10 who said visual impact.

The next biggest concern, after noise, was impact on wildlife, selected by 21% of those asked, then property prices, at 15%. It also found two out of three Scots would not be willing to pay higher monthly energy bills to make sure they get clean electricity.

When it came to what would make people support windfarms, a third of 1,000 people quizzed said job creation during construction.

One in five said compensation payments, a further one in five cited energy security and 15% said climate change.

Nick Orpwood, founder of Concerned About Wind Turbines, said: “People are not concerned about wind turbines in the broadest sense. They are something in the distance. Most people wake up when it becomes their problem.

“It is the proximity, which is why we suggest none should be closer than 1.2 miles to anyone. There is a problem with noise, we would agree with that.

“The benefit of local jobs tends to be an argument from developers and it’s very tenuous. There are some local jobs but it’s minimal.”

Pagoda Public Relations commissioned the study.

Its current clients include wind energy firm Enertrag, energy-from-waste firm Covanta Energy and Carbon Free Developments, which is involved in development of onshore windfarms.

Ian Coldwell, managing director of Pagoda, said: “The survey shows that, overall, local factors trump national ones in influencing how people react.

“These factors vary in importance with social group and age, so developers really need to get to know communities rather than making assumptions about what might secure their support.”

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