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Noise complaints blow in

Bald Hills Wind Farm has received 15 complaints about excessive noise from the wind farm since it began operating near Tarwin Lower.

Wind farm general manager Matthew Croome said those concerns were now being investigated by “a fully accredited acoustic consultant in accordance with the requirements of condition 21 of the permit”.

“The noise complaints are still under investigation. We will be reporting to the people who have lodged the complaints once the investigation is complete,” he said.

Don Jelbart wind farm opposition group Tarwin valley Coastal Guardians president is one of those residents affected. Mr Jelbart said noise levels in his house were “very bad” about two days a week, depending on wind speed and direction.

“Noise tends to be much worse in the house than outside and some rooms worse than others,” he said.

“Bald Hills Wind Farm continually says it is investigating a number of different noises from a thump to a low grind, all audible, but the concern for us also is infrasound.”

Infrasound is low frequency and typically inaudible. The coastal guardians raised concerns about such noise in a submission to the Australian Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines in Melbourne recently.

That committee will enquire into and report on the application of regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines by August 3, 2015.

The group’s submissions stated the noise standard for the Bald Hills Wind Farm – NZS 6808: 1998 – was inadequate.

“The slightly updated but still deficient 2010 version does not apply to the Bald Hills Wind Farm permit. However, neither reiteration of NZS 6808 measures low frequency and infrasound. Both are constrained to the measurement of audible sound – noise – and wholly inadequate to regulate the full spectrum of wind farm acoustic emissions,” the submission stated.

“Its testing methodology for audible sound is flawed and neither version addresses the pressing need to specify acoustic monitoring instrumentation.”

Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne is responsible for investigating noise complaints from wind turbines at the Bald Hills Wind Farm.

A spokeswoman for the minister said, “The Victorian Government is committed to supporting the wind energy industry in Victoria. Like all wind energy developments in Victoria, the Bald Hills Wind Farm is subject to strict noise guidelines.

“Wind farm developers also need to have a noise complaint, evaluation and response process to address any community concerns.”

South Gippsland Shire Council’s development services director Bryan Sword was due to make a written submission to the senate committee last week.