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Wind Power: Noise

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on what advice the maximum permitted night-time noise from onshore wind turbines was set at 43 decibels; when this limit was last reviewed; and why the recommendation in the 2006 draft report by Hayes McKenzie Partnership of a reduction in the sound level was rejected. (309012)

[holding answer 6 January 2010]: The 43 decibel night-time limit in the ETSU-R-97 guidance is derived from the 35 dB(A) sleep disturbance criteria referred to in Planning Policy Guidance 24 (Planning and Noise). An addition of 10 dB(A) was made to the 35 dB(A) figure to allow for attenuation through an open window, and 2 dB subtracted to account for the use of LA90 rather than LAeq. ETSU-R-97 has not been formally reviewed, but other aspects of wind turbine noise have been subject to a number of studies including the 2006 research by Hayes McKenzie.

In relation to the Hayes McKenzie research, I understand that the reference to the decibel levels was not included in the final report because the consultants decided that referring to a specific level (as in the first draft of the report) did not reflect the terms of reference of the study.