wind turbine noise

Credit:   David McKay     The Press and Journal      (26/07/11)

Noise complaints have been lodged about one in three commercial wind turbine schemes in a rural part of Aberdeenshire – more than double the UK average.

New data from Aberdeenshire Council following a freedom of information request by a local action group has revealed the extent of opposition to wind turbines operating in the Formartine area, which includes Ellon, Oldmeldrum and Turriff.

Campaign group Concerned About Wind Turbines (CAWT) has blamed planning guidance, which allows for a relatively small separation distance between turbines and homes.


The separation distance between turbine and residential property in Aberdeenshire is just 400m,  most of the complaints have risen within the last 18 months and include a single 80m turbine to tip, 1 km from the complainant.

The figures were obtained under a Freedom Of Information request by CAWT (Concerned about Wind Turbines).  Click here to link to a more indepth report.

Credit:   David Wilkes,     Daily Mail,     (04/07/11)

A couple driven out of their home by noise from a wind farm launched a landmark battle in the High Court yesterday over their inability to get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Jane and Julian Davis say the low- frequency hum of the 320ft tall turbines, which they liken to the sound of a helicopter, kept them awake even with earplugs and their double glazed windows closed.

They claim it became so intolerable they were forced to move from their home in Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, six months after the eight-turbine wind farm began operating just over half a mile from their home in 2006.

Mr and Mrs Davis are challenging the turbines’ owners in a case which, if they win, could lead to operators of up to 50 wind farms across the country having to stop their turbines or compensate hundreds of residents living near them.

"The case will focus on ‘amplitude modulation’, the swishing noise made by the blades in certain conditions.

Research suggests many complaints about wind farms relate to this, and the industry admits it is not properly understood."

To read the full article click here

 Credit:     Caroline McMorran

THE LOCAL authority has forced Scottish and Southern Electricity to shut down a Sutherland wind farm after the company breached planning controls by failing to deal with excessive noise from the development.

People living close to the Achany wind farm near Rosehall are claiming their lives are being made a misery by the constant noise, and are angry that their complaints are being ignored.

In an unprecedented move, Highland Council issued a temporary stop notice on the 23-turbine wind farm at 3pm on Monday.

The turbine blades at the £55 million, 40MW windfarm, which came on stream in July last year, stopped turning that night.

The stop notice will remain in place for a month, until July 4, with the shut down representing a huge financial loss to the power company.

Highland Council's principal planner Gordon Moonie confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that it was the first time the authority had issued a notice of this type.

He said he was unaware of any other council taking similar action.

"This temporary stop notice was introduced under a 2006 Act and it hasn't been used very often, but it is quite an effective way of dealing with a breach of planning control. In a sense it affects the company where it hurts – in their pocket," he said.

Mr Moonie revealed that the problems with Achany had been ongoing for about a year, with constant complaints to planners about noise.

"We were getting complaints from the local people and the community and we weren't getting any action from SSE, so we decided that the best way forward was to serve this temporary stop notice," he said.

"It means that the windfarm has to cease operating and we can then get round the table and agree a way forward that is in everyone's interest."

According to the stop notice, SSE breached planning controls by failing to provide a scheme for mitigating noise levels prior to the development coming on stream.

They also failed to comply with a request to measure noise levels at two local properties – Rosehall Cottage and a home at Durcha – when specifically asked to do so following complaints from the householders.

The Durcha property is just 2km away from some of the turbines.

The company has further breached planning controls by failing to notify the local authority of the date the development first supplied electricity to the National Grid.

Local resident Andy Simpson is the chairman of Kyle of Sutherland Against Braemore (KoSAB), the group protesting against a proposed wind farm at Braemore, near Lairg.

He told the Northern Times:"The householder at Durcha has been complaining bitterly about the noise in certain weather conditions and said it has made life unbearable at times.

"Therefore, I'm really pleased that Highland Council have done the right thing.

"However, it gives me grave concern that a developer appears to have dismissed a genuine noise complaint once a wind farm has been constructed.

"This surely shows scant care or empathy for local communities from these large corporates."

He added: "An even greater cause for concern is the proposal for Braemore windfarm which KoSAB estimate is within 2km of 83 houses."

Rosehall resident Colin Gilmour, who chaired the Achany Windfarm Liaison Group said: "When Achany became operational in July 2010, we closed the liaison group down because in effect we did not really have any more to do with the development and we were not aware at the time that SSE had not met these conditions.

"However, the issue of noise from Achany has come up at the liaison group set up for the Rosehall Hill wind farm which is being constructed by E.ON.

"There is now a worry that houses at Durcha could be affected by noise from both wind farms and that one operator will blame the other.

"They need to sort out the Achany issue before Rosehall Hill wind farm becomes operational."

Mr Gilmour continued: "The householder at Durcha is particularly affected when the wind is coming from the north-east or in certain weather conditions. But he will be even closer to some of the Rosehall Hill turbines.

"Highland Council became a bit exasperated in the end with SSE over Achany because they just didn't meet the conditions.."

l When asked for a comment, a spokesman for SSE yesterday (Thursday) responded: "Following a request from the Higland Council, we have temporarily suspended generation at our Achany wind farm, near Lairg. We are working closely with council officials and will be meeting representatives later today. We are confident that we can reach an agreement with the council very quickly." 

Credit:     Clare Peddy,     Adelaide Now,     (01/06/11)


Silencing wind turbines is the aim of a new project at the University of Adelaide.

Engineers are studying the causes of turbine noise to make them quieter and solve the problem of `wind turbine syndrome’.

They want to understand how air turbulence and the blade edge, or boundary layer, interact to make the noise louder than it could be.

A computer model will predict the noise output from wind farms so the team can accurately and quickly assess the effectiveness of noise-reducing designs and control methods.

Research leader Dr Con Doolan, of the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering, said the noise generated from wind turbines was “trailing edge or airfoil noise” – the same sort of noise generated at the edge of aircraft wings.

“If we can understand this fundamental science, we can then look at ways of controlling the noise, through changing the shape of the rotor blades or using active control devices at the blade edges to disrupt the pattern of turbulence,” he said.

Dr Doolan said further complicating factors came from the way the noise increases and decreases as the blades rotate.

The computer model will look at the noise from the whole wind turbine and how multiple numbers of wind turbines together, as in a wind farm, generate noise.

“Wind turbine noise is very directional. Someone living at the base might not have a problem but two kilometres away, it might be keeping them awake at night,” Dr Doolan said.

“Likewise this broadband `hissing’ noise modulates up and down as the blades rotate and we think that’s what makes it so annoying.

“Wind turbine noise is controversial but there’s no doubt that there is noise and that it seems to be more annoying than other types of noise at the same level. Finding ways of controlling and reducing this noise will help us make the most of this very effective means of generating large amounts of electricity with next to zero carbon emissions.”

By Mauri Johansson, MD, MHH (Bording, Denmark) in Wind Turbine     (26/05/11)


Many thanks for posting the article, “We were compelled to leave the site due to severe nausea (Australia).  A clear and revealing report!

The picture looks very similar to our experience in Denmark.  We now see families leaving their homes, even here.

The public debate in Denmark has been vivid, and continues to go on countrywide, including on radio and TV.

Our organization against these gigantic wind turbines has now more than 100 local groups.  Many communities are stopping their turbine plans.

Yesterday, the Danish Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they plan to reduce the maximum level of low frequent noise (including infrasound) to 20 dB indoors. In open landscapes throughout Denmark the wind turbines are allowed to deliver noise up to 44 dB all day and night outdoors to neighbors, in contrast to traffic and industrial noise, where there are limitations during nighttime hours. There is also a rule that neighbors are not allowed to live closer than 4 times the maximum height of the turbine, which is obviously too close. However, if the new indoor maximum is accepted by law, it will probably be this limit that regulates the minimum distance to neighbors.

So, we have a feeling that something positive is happening.

Unfortunately the medical establishment and health agencies are ignorant, I am sad to say. The wind turbine industry is strongly resisting any change.  The medical authorities employ engineers, not physicians, to analyze the relationship between turbines and human health.  This is an outrage.  Moreover, the engineers oftentimes have a close connection to the wind industry.

Nevertheless, the fight goes on, here. There are still several open questions: (a) measuring protocols, especially low frequency noise (down to 0 Hz), (b) establishment of public offices for control measures where there is annoyance, and (c) other basic requirements to protect human health.

With all best wishes to Nina.

Two Acousticians taking noise readings at a property approximately 500m from the nearest turbine, experienced adverse medical effects.  Below is their letter to Dr Nina Pierpont who first noticed this collection of symptoms and named it Wind Turbine Syndrome. 

Credit:   Robert W Rand     (20/04/11)

I just got back from a several-day wind turbine noise survey with my long-time colleague, Steve Ambrose—like me, a Member of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering.

I’m writing to let you know that we both experienced adverse medical effects in the vicinity of the turbine under survey (one industrial wind turbine) under strong wind conditions aloft. Nausea, loss of appetite, vertigo, dizziness, inability to concentrate, an overwhelming desire to get outside, and anxiety.

The distance was approximately 1700 feet, in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

We obtained relief, repeatedly, by going several miles away.

I will be looking very carefully at the data and recordings acquired at this site to correlate with the experience. Short story is—and I reserve the right to revise any comments here as I learn more—it matches the Pedersen & Waye 2004 curve, where the annoyance ramps up quickly above 32 dBA.

That curve hides the real story, however. The A-weighted level doesn’t track the experience at all. I know! Steve and I sat for hours on Monday, comparing what we were feeling and what our meters were displaying. The dBA doesn’t work at all. So we have a complete disconnect between medical impact and regulatory framework.

Don’t count on dBC either.

I think that this impact could be related to how the ear is pumped by the repetitive pressure in a quiet rural background, or indoors. In Hull, Massachusetts, the background is high (Ldn60) and the two industrial turbines there don’t raise appeals to stop the noise, or even any complaints to speak of, at the same or closer distances than I was at this last week.

I hypothesize that if the ear is working at a low background level, different things happen in the auditory and vestibular system than when the ear is working at higher sound levels. (Wish I had more training in neurobiology!)

Many have been affected by wind turbine noise here in Maine and elsewhere, and we have listened to a number tell of their symptoms and problems with wind turbines. We have determined the potential for community noise impact of wind turbines in rural areas and published our findings.

However, the symptoms we experienced on this trip were unexpected for us. We have been surveying other wind turbine sites over the last 15 months and have not experienced these effects. (We each have over thirty years of experience in general and industrial acoustics, and have evaluated just about every kind of noise source—and noise level—imaginable.) I repeat, this is the first time I have experienced these symptoms simply by being near a noise source.

However, I see this as a gift. We are experienced acousticians who work from the neighbor’s perspective. Now we know personally, viscerally, what people have been telling us! We must now include ourselves in the percentage of the population that can experience significant and debilitating adverse health effects from the acoustic energy emitted by wind turbines.

Large industrial wind turbines must be considered seriously as capable of creating an adverse health effect within a certain distance with a dose-response or threshold relationship that varies with the individual.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about what we experienced, please contact me at your convenience.

In Aberdeenshire, which like Dumfries and Galloway has seen an explosion of planning applications for wind farms,  there are 8 noise complaints against 6 wind developments,

Steve and Debbi, who live approximately 1 km from a single  80m (to tip) turbine, lodged one of those complaints and have kindly agreed to allow us to print their story.

We moved into our home almost 4 years ago. We could not believe our luck at getting our property and were welcomed into the community by the local farmers. Everything was fine until we noticed some work taking place about 1km from our house on the opposite side of the valley, due east of us.

I actually commented to the wife, ‘great, a phone mast…’ our phones have terrible reception in the area. But the structure got bigger and bigger; we were bemused at this and also confused. When the turbine was finished we were absolutely gobsmacked at the size of the structure. How could something of this size be built without our knowledge, but as we were pro renewable energy we did not foresee any problems. We actually started to use it as a landmark to direct people to our home.

THEN THEY TURNED IT ON!!!! Oh my goodness. Our lives were about to be turned on its head. Almost immediately we noticed our dogs’ sleep patterns were affected. They started to sleep less and become aggressive towards each other and people. We had a few close calls and had to make changes to how we exercised them. My stepson was first to get ill. He started to suffer from headaches and sleepless nights; he is a bus driver so needs his rest. At first we did not associate the effects on the turbine. We knew nothing about them… after all, they are just windmills and look cute eh?!

Then I started to hear the noise and noticed the vibrations in the home. We started to investigate on the internet what others had experienced & found out we were not the only ones to suffer in this way. My mood swings were getting worse and to be honest it was getting depressing for all the family.

We suffer several different types of noise, let me try & explain.

Wind shear: This is self-explanatory; it happens every time the blade passes the shaft and can be heard at all times when the blades are turning. The faster the blade turns the louder and more persistent the noise can be. The contractors will try to say that the higher wind speed will mean that the wind noise of the surrounding area will mask the sound of the wind shear. This is ok in theory, but in practice our experience shows that the wind is not a constant . This means that at the turbine it can be 10km and in your back garden 0km so you suffer maximum noise until the wind changes or drops it speed. Remember that the turbine may be up to 300ft high. This is the height of the Forth Bridge& is massive.

Mechanical: We experience a grinding noise like an engine with no oil grinding on itself; the noise is also accompanied by a clanking sound. This in itself is easy to ignore if it was not for the rhythmic nature of the noise. You find yourself working to the beat of the rhythm. It’s like being on board a slave ship with the drums sounding out the beat to row by.

Background flare: Our experience of Newstead farm is that any loud noises that would naturally permeate around the valley from behind the turbine, is flared up to seem louder than it actually is. Motorbikes coming out from Cuminestown are awful. Loud, quiet, loud, quiet, until they pass from behind the turbine. Before the turbine was there we never even noticed the noise in this way, but any noise loud, and then soft in a rhythmical pattern, is going to get your attention.

Remember, different people are susceptible to different things. Some may not hear what we do; to prove this we have had visitors stay for the week. At the start they cannot hear the turbine noise, by the end of the week they are commenting on the noise. It seems like we can mask out the sounds for a short period of time until our glass is full and starts overflowing.

White Noise: White noise has an infinite-bandwidth. White noise signal is a purely theoretical construction. The bandwidth of white noise is limited in practice by the mechanism of noise generation, by the transmission medium, in this case the turbine. A random signal is considered "white noise" if it is observed to have a flat spectrum over a medium's widest possible bandwidth, which is exactly what we experience. White noise is a form of torture used against prisoners and is illegal and against the Geneva convention, but it seems acceptable for a turbine to sit there and generate pulsating sounds at frequencies no-one can hear (white noise).

Ultra sonic vibration: This is the hardest to describe. The whole manner of the structure of a wind turbine is to capture the wind and as such, the turning of the blades and the ferocity of the wind determines the vibrations omitted. The vibrations are variable but constant. The worst time is at very high wind speeds as the turbine has to apply an automatic brake to stop the rotor overspeeding. The application of the brake causes a shudder in the turbine and this is transmitted through the ground to your property. Every building sways in the wind and causes vibrations through the ground. We have pictures that move on the walls, glasses that move on shelves and when cupboard doors are opened, they will fall out. It’s awful and unbearable.

Finally, because we have a complaint with the local council against the turbine at Newstead, if we were to sell our property we would have to declare this problem. Would you buy a house that has noise and vibration problems?

This submission is honest and truthful and you have our permission to refer to this as evidence and submit as an affidavit if required.
Good luck.

Steve and Debbi

If you live close to a proposed wind turbine development and you're not sure how it might affect you – please listen to Jenny's story. Jenny lives within 1 mile of the Dalswinton wind farm – 9 miles from Dumfries & 12 miles from Lockerbie – yet clearly visible from the A75. We could be accused of being alarmist – the problem is, once the turbines are up – it's too late. Action is needed now, so it's important to hear about the experience of those who already have to live with it.

Click on the link below to hear Jenny's story.

Jenny's Story

The Mayfield Community Wind Farm application is now live. 

You have until the 24th March to submit your objections.

Why should you object?

The development is located in a tranquil area just over 3 km from Rhonehouse, in landscape types which have been identified as only being suitable for 'small scale' wind developments.  This, when turines were only half the proposed height. 

Local residents are going to suffer increased noise and at certain times of the year, shadow flicker.

TW 312 has concerns that the number of proposed developments around the area are going to negatively impact on tourism and businesses in Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse.

We need your help to stop the inappropriate siting of wind farms around our main tourist towns. 

If you would like help on submitting an objection, including valid grounds for objecting and where to send it,  just click here

How else can you help?

We also ask that you contact your community council and request them to lodge an objection on behalf of your community.  This is very important.

Make sure your friends and neighbours know about the application, ask if they will send an objection to the planning department and contact the community council to make their views known

Thank you from TW 312

We have finally added some new pages for your information.  TW 312 apologise for the length of time this is taking but we try to research our subjects thoroughly before posting.

Please look at our new map which shows the location of the proposed turbines around Kirkcudbright.

Two articles on the number of wind farms around Kirkcudbright and across Dumfries and Galloway list all the proposed developments.  It is impossible for us to keep track of everything across D & G so only larger wind farms are included.

We also have features on community benefits and noise from wind farms which local residents may find interesting.

And finally there is a well researched article on the Carbon Equation for Existing Turbines.

TW312 received a comment from Pete and Jen Sandle who live in Denbighshire.  We thought it deserved a post of it's own:-

What are you thinking of up there in desecrating a beautiful lanscape with the obscenity that calls itself wind energy?
We live with turbines that have despoiled our beautiful part of Denbighshire. Local communities mistakenly thought that these installations would bring money into the are. How wrong can you be?

The only people who make money out of these are the developers who often even sell on their permissions. New owners claim enormous government subsidies for an inefficient energy system – all so that an eco box can be ticked by council and government.

Wake up! These turbines lie idle much of the time. They do not generate the electricity promised (they are always maximum output figures). The are unsightly, and guess what? THEY ARE NOISY. We suffer from a constant low level hum and we are four miles away. When the wind is in certain a direction the noise is disturbing, sounding like a large harvester working just a few fields away.

We have found that one installation is never enough. As soon as the turbines go up the developers seek permission for more – and bigger- monsters.

Keep fightinmg and say no while you still have the chance. Be warned by our experience. Turbines are not neighbour friendly.

Keep your lanscape or lose your visitors (and annoy residents in the process!)


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