Wind Farms: Noise

Authored by: Daniel Shepherd , Chris Hanning , Bob Thorne

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Windfarms consist of clusters of wind turbines, which, when placed in populated areas, are associated with intrusive and unwanted sound. A relatively new noise source; wind turbine noise has characteristics sufficiently different from other, more extensively studied, noise sources to suggest that preexisting noise standards are not appropriate. Though research into the human impacts of wind turbine noise has appeared only in the last decade and in small quantity, the data suggest that, for equivalent exposures, wind turbine noise is more annoying than road or aviation noise. Furthermore, the particular characteristics of wind turbine noise may be likely to cause sleep disruption. As with other impulsive noise sources, time-aggregated noise metrics have limited utility in protecting public health, and a cluster of metrics should be used in order to estimate potential threat. At this time, however, the quantity and quality of research are insufficient to effectively describe the relationship between wind turbine noise and health, and so legislation should apply the precautionary principle or conservative criteria when assessing proposed windfarm developments.

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