The current rules regarding the acceptable level of noise for wind farm developments are set to be reviewed due to inconsistencies in the way in which they are applied. The guidance itself is clear, stating that wind farms should operate at no more than 5 decibels above background noise with an upper limit of 40 db in the daytime and 43 db at night. There have, however, been concerns about how authorities have been applying the limits. A leaked document from the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed that “It has been brought to our attention that inconsistent approaches have been taken to the practical application of the guidance.”
In response to the problem, DECC has commissioned a review of the current position which will be carried out by Hayes McKenzie, a specialist wind farm consultancy firm. The review is to begin next month and is expected to be finished by the end of the year.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry stated “Noise is a key issue to be taken into account in considering proposals for wind farm development. Our aim is to ensure that [the guidance] is applied in a consistent and effective manner and that it is implemented in a way that provides the intended level of protection.” Charles Anglin, head of RenewablesUK, believes that developers have little to fear from the review: “We welcome the review because we think it will show very clearly that although there are very loud myths about wind power there actually isn’t a noise problem.”