The ClimateXChange Wind Farm Impacts Study, published in July 2015, made a number of recommendations for developing better guidance on predicting and limiting the impact of wind farm developments. How noise impacts from wind farms are considered in the planning process in Scotland was raised in this Study.
As well as looking at wind turbines, this follow-on study considered the assessment of noise impacts for hydro schemes and air source heat pumps including the guidance and standards these impacts are judged against. The study findings will feed in to Scottish Government thinking on how noise impacts from renewable technologies are considered through the planning process, and potentially inform future guidance for developers and planning authorities.
The study made the following recommendations:
- Greater sharing of information via a community of practice focused on wind energy noise issues for EHO and planning officers.
- Preparation of a lay person’s guide for non-noise specialists to facilitate communication of noise issues in relation to renewable energy.
The study also identified a number of recommendations for further research which include:
- An in depth review of the methodology within ETSU-R-97 and the IOA Good Practice Guide to identify areas where additional detail on interpretation would be required from a planning authority perspective, drawing specifically on the experience of stakeholders.
- Investigation of the value of a detailed local policy framework through a workshop event or similar for environmental health officers and planners. This would provide a forum for structured discussion and sharing good practice on noise policies and in particular, supplementary guidance. This could cover the scope, wording and potential for locally specific limits within policy and guidance. The outcome of this event could be recorded in a summary report to provide a reference source for local authorities addressing noise issues.
- A more detailed investigation of a sample of noise related complaints regarding wind farm developments would allow further conclusions to be drawn on ETSU limits and the nature and occurrence of noise related complaints.