The Department of Energy and Climate Change has commissioned fresh research on wind farm noise

By stoplenchwickwindfarm | July 21, 2010

“Confidence has been lost in the ETSU model”

4th June 2010
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The Department of Energy and Climate Change has commissioned fresh research on wind farm noise. The move, which has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) , comes despite ministerial assurances earlier this year that there were no plans to change the existing guidance on assessing and rating wind farm noise.

The guidance has become increasing controversial. Howard Price, CIEH principal policy officer, said: ‘The guidance currently in use, ETSU-R-97, is now more than 13 years old. It was developed before the current generation of large turbines began to be built and has had to modified unofficially in practice.

Mr Price said that, despite its limitations, the guidance is referred to in the draft national policy statement for renewable energy, released last November. As an official consultee, the CIEH warned that future decisions based on ETSU would be unsafe.

Former energy minister, Lord Hunt, wrote last October in support of the use of ETSU-R-97 and junior minister David Kidney repeated in February that it gave ‘a reasonable degree of protection to wind farm neighbours’.

However, said Mr Price, it seems officials were already drafting specifications for new research. Two research tenders, one to analyse how noise impacts of wind farms are considered in planning and another to reassess the evidence base on reported noise complaints, were issued before the general election.

Mr Price added: ‘Confidence has been lost in the ETSU model and it is good that this has now been recognised. ‘Neither the government nor the energy providers could afford to risk planning consents being overturned because they were based on inadequate guidance. Hopefully, something everyone agrees on will emerge soon.’

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