23-Dec-2015

Two local councils are pressing government for guidelines to help assess low frequency noise from windfarms.

South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire District Councils wrote to the government on 22 December to ask, as a matter of urgency, for fresh national guidance on windfarm-related noise controls as they have found the current legislative guidance inadequate in assessing complaints involving this type of noise.

The call for national standards comes after both councils worked together to investigate noise complaints from villagers living around the Cotton Farm windfarm near Graveley.

Noise complaints are assessed against criteria such as the frequency of the noise, character of the area and type of noise being made. However, low frequency noise that residents have complained about from Cotton windfarm does not satisfy the criteria for it to be classified as a nuisance.

Environment bosses have said that it is clear there are concerns from local communities over the noise and they are being disturbed by from the windfarm, but current national legislation does not enable them to take any action.

The government is currently using working groups to help produce best practice guidance containing assessment and threshold information. One of the working groups has described the type of noise from windfarms as a distant and irregular "whoomp".

Cllr Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "Along with our council partners at South Cambridgeshire, we have worked together to find solutions for these issues that protect the amenities of our communities. However, it is now clear that the current regulatory tools available to us are inadequate. We have no hesitation in asking government to review this situation so the needs of our residents are properly balanced with the requirements for renewable energy and we will continue to review the impacts of Cotton Farm on the living environs of our respective villages."

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "We have spent a long time working with local communities and Cotton windfarm to assess the issues local people have been telling us about. Both ourselves and Huntingdonshire District Council have talked to residents and been to various locations to carry out noise monitoring assessments. Unfortunately, the guidance we are operating to means the noise that exists is not classified as a statutory nuisance and that leaves us powerless to take action.

"We have left our investigation open as the key piece of information we now need is the guidance we have been promised by government to assess low frequency sounds such as those that have been reported by residents. As soon as we have the information needed we will look into this case once more."