Belfast Telegraph

Stormont calls for urgent probe into wind turbine noise

By Michael McHugh

A Stormont committee has called for an urgent review of limits on noise levels from wind turbines.

Many emotive submissions detailed the allegedly adverse impact of the renewable energy technology on day-to-day lives, a report from the environment committee said.

Residents' concerns about the health impact or effect on house prices were often not given due regard, while community groups trying to object to planning applications found the process opaque, according to a review by lawmakers.

The wind industry believes current guidelines are adequate to regulate noise limits, but others "overwhelmingly" cited this as their most pressing area of concern as the size of farms has grown dramatically, the report said.

"After considering the evidence from its specialist adviser, the committee agreed that the use of the ETSU-97 guidelines should be reviewed on an urgent basis by the department and that more appropriate guidance put in place."

Noise disturbance emerged as one of the key issues in the environment committee inquiry. Regulations which set out acceptable levels of noise were deemed to be in need of revision so that the noise output from more modern and more powerful turbines can be appropriately regulated.

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