Noise like ‘passing aircraft’ from wind turbines at Graveley to be investigated

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:06 06 May 2015

Graveley Wind Farm,

Graveley Wind Farm,

Archant

Campaigners calling for tighter government controls for wind farms have learned this week that noise consultants have been called in to record sound levels from eight turbines at Graveley.

Huntingdonshire District Council confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) it will be measuring levels at the Cotton Farm Wind Farm, on a former airfield, after receiving a flood of complaints about noise from people living in surrounding villages.

The move has been prompted by evidence produced by the Cotton Farm Residents’ Association, which installed its own noise and weather monitoring equipment in January 2013, which it claims shows the level of noise from the 126-metre turbines could mean they have been built too close to homes.

The wind farm, which is now run by Greencoat UK Wind, was granted planning permission on appeal in December 2010 despite huge protests from residents and objections from two district councils and five parish councils.

Graveley resident Bev Gray, whose High Street home is 1,200-metres from the turbines, said the next step in the campaign was to lobby government. “We want to try and get government to adopt much fairer and controllable planning conditions for noise from wind farms,” he said.

“When we lost the battle to stop the wind farm in 2010, we did something no one else in the world has done and that was to install our own community noise monitor. This monitor, with its own weather station, is recording noise and weather data from the wind farm 24/7. The evidence we have collected is showing the wind farm should never have been built so close to homes. This could bring into

question the use of wind farms in the UK in their current form.”

The noise from the turbines, which have 90-metre blades that can rotate at speeds of up to 180mph, has been described as akin to that of an aircraft or helicopter in flight and even “a pair of trainers in a tumble drier”.

Keith Holl, who contacted The Hunts Post, said people had complained to the district council of sleep deprivation “due to hour upon hour of noise akin to a passing aircraft – that doesn’t actually go away”.

HDC said in a statement: “We have engaged the services of a noise consultant to review the noise reports produced by the Cotton Farm Wind Farm operators.”

The consultants are due to report back to HDC by the end of the month.

Advocates of wind farms say the technology is essential to cutting UK carbon emissions.

In a statement, Greencoat UK Wind, said: “Since the installation of the wind farm, Greencoat Wind UK has worked with the local environmental health officers to monitor noise levels and will continue to do so, as required.”

4 comments

  • I pass the Gravelly turbines on my bike fairly often and I'm always impressed by how quiet they are. Of course I may just be missing the noisy times - although they are often going quite well. There may also be some odd effect of resonance or similar but overall I'm sceptical about all this health effects of wind turbines. Noise is amenable to physics and the problem for me is that so many other phenomena create far more noise at all frequencies without apparently any harm. However if the consultants find something serious then the wind farm operators should sort it out. Interestingly we have a wind turbine outside Gamlingay and at the time of it's planning there were some reasonable objections but also a lot of quite extreme scaremongering about health effects on children, people having to move etc. none of which materialised. Having said that, fan of wind turbines as I am, I think Gravely inhabitants do have a legitimate complaint about one particular turbine that seems to loom over the high Street as I cycle along. Moving that one machine would decimate the impact.

    Report this comment

    Barbel

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

  • Martin Slade certainly does need to educate himself. Spreading rubbish? When all around the world, as the proliferation of turbines spreads, there are increasing complaints; people who are all describing much the same ill effects, many of whom were all in favour; some (rare because most are gagged) turbine hosts. Folk who are forced to leave loved areas and properties to go and live in trailers, sheds; pay for rented properties as well as mortgages on unsaleable properties. Nobody chooses to do this willingly; they do it for the sake of their health and that of their children. Go and do your homework on the subject before jumping in with your own rubbish. Oh and on the rotational speed, two rotations or six, what difference does it make?

    Report this comment

    Mary Young

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

  • Typical response from someone who hasn't got a clue....it's not a noise volume issue we suffer from (although there are instances where they exceed dB levels as set out in planning regulations) it's "like an aircraft going over, but never passes". The noise is referred to as Excessive Amplitude Modulation (EAM), I suggest you take off your green tinted glasses and educate yourself a bit better. The noise issue is "fact", the SCDC Environmental Health Officer has recorded and "agreed" there is an EAM issue. Residents in surrounding villages have logged over 1000 separate complaints...maybe they are all lying or making it up. As an exercise put your tumble dryer outside your bedroom door and leave it on all night and see if you can get to sleep. And if you bothered to read the article in full you would see this will be raised nationally so no not just "nimbys" talking.

    Report this comment

    l33d5un1t3d

    Friday, May 8, 2015

  • Seems like another case of nimbys looking to muddy the water by spreading rubbish to gain support. I doubt they would have bothered campaigning against other wind farms if they weren't near their village. Personally I cannot see how these turbines can generate anything like the noise of an airplane and the quote that they rotate at up to 180mph is total rubbish. The speed quoted is the tip velocity, the rotational speed at the end of the turbine blade, with a blade 90m high, each rotation of the blade covers over half a kilometre (13 mile). Even if the wind was strong enough to rotate the blades so the tips reached 180mph, this only equates to under 6 rotations per minute. Personally I have not seen a turbine on the fens rotating at more than a couple of times per minute.

    Report this comment

    martin slade

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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