Permitted Development for micro-wind turbines – clarification

Following my previous blog post of a couple of days ago about micro-wind permitted development, the muddy waters of government policy have clarified slightly, following a conversation with DECC; the impending permitted development rights for domestic micro-wind energy are accompanied by guidance which specifies that a 42 dB(A) noise limit condition will apply (at 1 metre from the nearest residential window), but this condition isn’t in the legislation (Statutory Instrument) – I have confirmed with DECC that the limit will be specified in a new (or updated) Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Standard, the application of which is specified in the conditions in the SI, and this will be reviewed after a year – lets hope they do better with the review than they did with ETSU-R-97 The assessment and rating of noise from windfarms which was supposed to be reviewed after 2 years, but is still waiting for a proper review 14 years down the line. So, unless a domestic wind turbine has been installed according to the MCS Standard, and complies with the noise limit specified in the Standard, the local planning authority will be able to take enforcement action against the owner.

All well and good so far, but what happens under higher wind conditions, when many of these turbines can be noisier? How will a local authority Environmental Health Officer measure the turbine noise at the nearest house without the prevailing wind noise interfering – it’s fraught with danger this one.

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About echoacoustics
Independent environmental noise and vibration consultancy; we offer customer-focused, value-added environmental noise and vibration surveys and assessments for Development Planning, EIA, Environmental Permitting and any other issue where environmental noise and vibration interact with people, places and eco-systems

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