Shepherd D, Hanning C, Thorne, R Noise: Windfarms

Noise : Windfarms
Paper published in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Management (peer review panel for all articles)

Daniel Shepherd, Chris Hanning, Bob Thorne

Windfarms consist of clusters of wind turbines, which, when placed in populated areas, are associated with intrusive and unwanted sound. A relatively new noise source; wind turbine noise has characteristics sufficiently different from other, more extensively studied, noise sources to suggest that pre-existing noise standards are not appropriate. Though research into the human impacts of wind turbine noise has appeared only in the last decade and in small quantity, the data suggest that, for equivalent exposures, wind turbine noise is more annoying than road or aviation noise.

Furthermore, the particular characteristics of wind turbine noise may be likely to cause sleep disruption. As with other impulsive noise sources, time-aggregated noise metrics have limited utility in protecting public health, and a cluster of metrics should be used in order to estimate potential threat. At this time, however, the quantity and quality of research are insufficient to effectively describe the relationship between wind turbine noise and health, and so legislation should apply the precautionary principle or conservative criteria when assessing proposed windfarm developments.”

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