Page last updated at 00:20 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Wind turbine noise rules are outdated, say campaigners

Wind turbines in Kent
Experts say existing rules on turbine noise are out of date

The government urgently needs to update its guidance on how local authorities should assess the impact of noise from wind turbines, campaigners have said.

Environmental Protection UK say turbines are now so large, the noise generated by the turning blades can affect those living nearby.

The pressure group believes that changes in technology are not being reflected in the current guidelines.

The government says it is continuing research into the impact of noise.

Environmental Protection UK campaigns to minimise noise pollution - as well as reducing air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases.

It is supported by the UK government, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Radical overhaul

Experts working for the group say the government guidelines on acceptable noise levels for wind turbines were due for revision 11 years ago and there has been little sign that changes in wind turbine technology is reflected in these rules.

They add that this guidance was designed for structures of about 90ft (27m) in height, but some applications for wind farms include turbines that are at least three times higher.

The group says that current guidance assumes that background noise at ground level, such as the rustling of leaves, would help mask the noise of the blades turning.

Turbines are becoming so big, the group says, that any masking effect on the ground could be cancelled out.

Environmental Protection UK argue the rules need a radical overhaul, otherwise applications for new wind farms are in danger of being rejected.

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