Victorian Guidelines for Noise from Wind Turbines: A Simple Solution
The Application of NZS6808:1998 and NZS6808:2010 to unbuilt and new wind energy projects must not be allowed to cause further harm in Victoria.
A simple solution
The noise guidelines for wind energy projects (WEPs) in Victoria urgently need clarification.
Virtually all recent and/or significantly sized WEPs built to the New Zealand Standard (NZS6806:1998) have caused cruel and crippling damage to the health of neighbouring families. A substantial number of WEPs approved under NZS6808:1998 are yet to be built. They should not and cannot be built asw approved, as they are certain to cause major health and well-being problems for neighbours and, incidentally, thereby creating a serious legal argument for an action in nuisance.
The noise standard has recently been revised slightly and is designated NZS6808:2010. The revision makes no difference to the comments herein.
First and foremost, noise guidelines should clearly direct the industry that they must protect neighbours’ health, wellbeing and amenity. Whilst such directions already exist in the State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF) and in the Policy and Planning Guidelines for the Development of Wind Energy Facilities in Victoria (the Guidelines) these directions are ignored by Developers and their acoustic experts; and have not been assessed and enforced by Responsible Authorities (RAs).
Twelve years after the first WEP was built in Victoria at Codrington, the Guidelines or their interpretation/enforcement still do not protect communities; nor do they effectively direct the industry how to do so, nor do they impose management or control over the industry. This industry is simply out of control. Proper controls are urgently required to stop the suffering and damage to the health, wellbeing and human rights of WEP neighbours.
The easiest and swiftest path to effective control is to enforce the existing Guidelines requirement for a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA), at the same time sidelining the cynical use of the incompetent, misleading and inadequate noise limit (in most country situations 40dBA).
This simple, easily justifiable administrative action would place the responsibility for “doing no harm” squarely on the developer; with compliance much easier to prove, or not, through sleep monitoring and other medical checks. Country Victorians are already demanding such clear leadership. Industry objection to this action could easily be managed by a simple, truthful and logical statement.
This requirement of a NIA must be applied as quickly as possible to approved but unbuilt (and new) projects to ensure the human misery is not expanded; but, if incredibly that is not enough, then because the approval was improper as an NIA was not provided as part of the planning application as required.
The Waubra Foundation provides a simple solution to the problem. The document is accompanied by two attachments.