A scientist has reinforced his claims that the noise from the proposed Navitus Bay wind farm off the Hampshire coast will be louder than the developer is claiming.
Dr John Yelland, an Oxford University physicist and Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, said that operational noise from the wind farm, which would be more than 12 miles of the coast of the New Forest would be significantly above the public protection limit of 35 dBA set down in the Noise Regulations.
He claimed that developer Navitus Bay Development Ltd had used calculations for sound travelling over land rather than water.
NBDL project manager Mike Unsworth said he strongly rejected Dr Yelland’s analysis and that recognised standards had been used.
But Dr Yelland has again warned that residents will suffer excessive noise.
He said: “NBDL state in their noise assessment that the standard that they have used to calculate the airborne noise onshore was ISO 9613-2. This is an excellent international standard, but it was wrong for Navitus Bay to use it when its very first clause states that it should not be used for propagation over water.
“I was most surprised that the wind farm developers seemed unaware of recent academic research, which explains very clearly why use of the ISO 9613-2 standard is inappropriate and how sound propagation over water should in fact be calculated.
“Anyone who fishes in or sails on the sea will know that sound travels so much further over water than over the land.
“There is quite simply no other operational UK offshore wind farm that comes anywhere near the Navitus Bay proposal in terms of its high power – and therefore high noise – levels and proximity to densely-populated downwind shorelines largely dependent on tourism.
“Bournemouth and its surrounding shorelines should not be guinea pigs for an experiment like Navitus Bay, for which relatively simple science shows beyond doubt that current government noise level limits would be very significantly exceeded.”
Roy Pointer, chairman of Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, which represents more than 40 residents’ groups, added: “This is shocking news from a highly-respected scientist, who understands the way noise travels over water. If we can’t trust NBDL to use the right measurement process on this, how can we trust other aspects of their consultation process?”
If built, the park would see as many as 194 turbines as high as 200m. NBDL has submitted its planning application to the Planning Inspectorate.
• A public meeting is to be held on Saturday from 2pm to 4.30pm at the BIC to discuss the wind farm plans, with speakers for and against.
Comparison is ‘misleading’
MIKE Unsworth, project director for Navitus Bay, said: “Dr Yelland is factually incorrect in his judgement.
“The standards used by independent noise experts investigating the potential noise impacts of Navitus Bay, are exactly the same as those used by developers assessing potential noise impacts at other offshore wind park schemes around the UK – currently there are over 1000 operational turbines in UK waters.
“Local residents can be assured that the noise assessments undertaken are valid and, furthermore, predicted noise levels are not expected to exceed the internationally recognised threshold criteria during the construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning phases.
“Dr Yelland’s comparison with other wind parks in the UK is misinformed and misleading. The majority of the operational offshore wind projects around the UK are closer to shore than Navitus Bay will be, yet there is no evidence of operational noise impacts at the nearby coastal locations.”