Dickinson, P. Pragmatic View of a Wind Turbine Noise Standard

Professor Philip J Dickinson, New Zealand

ABSTRACT – New Zealand Standard 6808:2010 Acoustics – wind farm noise is unique in that it acknowledges, up front under committee representation that a representative of a university involved in its development does not support the Standard.

Since that time a number of papers and presentations have decried this opposition to the Standard without giving the committee member the privilege of comment or reply. This paper is to put the record straight and explain why the Standard is not supported. Wind farms may well be a viable alternative energy source, but the effects of noise immisions on the health of people living within several kilometres of the wind farms is becoming a concern.

The noise level from a wind farm may be quite low, but its characteristics compaared to that of the normal background sound make it stand out as something quite different. Often the sound is heard more clearly indoors than outside due to its ability to excite room resonances, making it an irritant causing severe loss of sleep and extreme annoyance.

New Zealand standard 6808:2010 closely follows that used in Britain and parts of Europe, even thought there are clear indications that the criteria to be met do not fully conform with World Health Organisation recommendations, and the method used is likely mathematically, scientifically and ethically wrong. This Standard and similar standdards across the world are clearly biased towards cost effective wind farm development, and it appears public health concerns are not being given enough attention.

Concluding paragraph:

One easy solution for solving the noise problem and protect-ing public health, is a ruling that no wind farm sound emission shall exceed 30 dB (LAeq,10mins) at any residence, nor exceed 20 dB (LAeq,10mins) in total in the frequency bands 31.5 to 125 Hz. A very simple way of achieving this, and of eliminating the need for any further involvement by the territorial authority, would be to make a ruling that no wind farm shall be situated less than say 5 to 10 kilometres away from any residence unless the occupant agrees in writing for this condi-tion to be waived.

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