Government rules out more research on turbine noise

The government has ruled out further research into wind turbine noise following the publication of a university report into the phenomenon.

Salford University concluded the incidence of Aerodynamic Modulation, aerodynamic noise, (AM) from the UK's wind farm fleet is low.

But its recommendation that more research might be "prudent" was rejected.

Energy minister Malcolm Wicks said: "Where there are legitimate problems we will address them. But it is essential that we produce more wind power if we are to meet our climate change and security of supply aims."

The report titled Research into Aerodynamic Modulation of Wind Turbine Noise was commissioned by government.

It was intended to gauge the level of AM - likened to the sound of a distant train - from the country's wind farms to aid understanding of its causes and establish if more research was needed.

A survey of local authorities found about 20 percent or 27 of the 133 wind farms in the UK had attracted a total of some 230 complaints since 1991.

Of those 152 were from a single site. The total number of complainants was 81.

About half were about mechanical noise and only four AM.

Scientists concluded: "The incidence of AM and the number of people affected is probably too small at present to make a compelling case for further research funding in preference to other types of noise which affect many more people."

"On the other hand, since AM cannot be fully predicted at present, and its causes are not understood we consider that it might be prudent to carry out further research to improve understanding in this area.

But the government said last week it did not consider there to be a "compelling case" for more work into AM - though it pledged to keep the issue under review.

The report was commissioned by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The report can be found online.

David Gibbs



Waste & resource management
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