Wind Turbine Assessments
“Wind turbines are an increasingly common sight throughout the UK and the installation of new turbines brings with it noise concerns for the local population. For this reason, a noise impact assessment is a standard part of the planning process for any new single turbine or wind-farm site.”
– Tom Brown, Consultant & Director – Peak Acoustics
Full ETSU-R-97 Assessment
‘The Assessment & Rating of Noise from Windfarms’
ETSU-R-97 provides a framework for the measurement of wind farm noise, gives indicative noise levels and is thought to offer a reasonable degree of protection to wind farm neighbours. A full ETSU-R-97 assessment requires the installation of noise monitoring equipment to record background noise levels at positions near to potentially affected residential properties over an extended period (normally several weeks).
Noise emissions from the proposed wind turbines are predicted using an acoustic model. A noise criterion for the noise levels at the residential properties are set which is generally 5dB above the background noise curve.
Shortened Desktop Assessment
Where a single turbine is proposed to be installed, or where there are relatively large distances between turbines and the nearest noise sensitive properties, it may be possible to use a shortened ETSU-R-97 assessment. This desktop surveys does not require background noise measurements and should be usually agreed with the planning authority.
Full or Shortened Assessment?
There are basically two types of noise impact assessments for the purpose of development of a new turbine or wind-farm site, namely a full ETSU-R-97 assessment and it`s shortened ‘desktop’ version.
Discussion and engagement of all of the relevant parties including the local Environmental Health Officers (EHO), the local residents potentially affected by the proposed turbine or farm and Local Planning Authority (LPA) is desirable from the early planning stage. Discussions are likely to have been held with the local EHO with respect to agreeing acceptable levels of the noise from the proposed site.