Published: October 9, 2012
Noise expert set to probe wind farm proposals near Burnham-On-Sea

Campaigners fighting plans for a new wind farm near Burnham-On-Sea have this week welcomed the news that Sedgemoor District Council has appointed an independent noise expert to assess the risk of noise pollution from the proposed wind turbines.

Energy firm Broadview wants to construct four 130-metre tall wind turbines - each as tall as Brent Knoll - on land at Pilrow Farm, south of Rooksbridge.

NoPilrow spokesman David Maund told "It is good that Sedgemoor is taking the issue of noise seriously, but unfortunately, the legislation regulating noise and wind farms is considered by many noise consultants to be not fit for purpose."

He added: "In their planning application, Broadview states that operational noise levels from the wind farm will be within levels deemed, by national guidance, to be acceptable for wind energy schemes and would not have any significant effects upon residential amenity."

"I imagine residents near the Fullabrook wind farm in North Devon were given similar reassurances by the developer. Recently, the local press in Devon reported that the wind farm exceeded the acceptable level of noise and breached the planning conditions."

David explained: "Since Fullabrook wind farm would have met the standard dictated by the ETSU-97 legislation during the planning phase, it is surely obvious that this legislation is no longer sufficiently rigorous for the much larger turbines now being employed."

"The issue of noise pollution doesn’t stop with audible sound. Wind turbines emit infrasound which has a frequency too low to be heard by the human ear. Although infrasound is not audible it may possibly be the cause of symptoms known as Wind Turbine Syndrome."

"English Heritage has already stated that Broadview’s Environmental Impact Statement is flawed, now Sedgemoor planners feel it necessary to conduct independent noise assessments, I wonder how many more inaccuracies may be in Broadview’s planning submission."

A Broadview spokeswoman responded to "We welcome the news that Sedgemoor has appointed an independent body to review the noise assessment. In 2011, as part of the public consultation for the now adopted National Policy Statements, the ETSU guidance was the subject of a Government review which concluded that ‘there is no substantive evidence that the fundamental guidelines are unsound and the Government therefore has no plans to revise them.’"

"ETSU works by placing enforceable restrictions on noise levels created by wind farms at neighbouring properties. This has been demonstrated at Fullabrook where the wind farm has been found to be in breach of the imposed levels, and action is currently being taken to remedy this."

"If the wind farm is incapable of operating within the prescribed limits then it will be forced to cease operation until it can be demonstrated that the planning permission can be complied with. At Pilrow, our assessment has demonstrated that the proposed wind farm can operate comfortably within the ETSU limits at all times."

Sedgemoor District Council's planning department is currently considering Broadview's planning application.


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