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Draft Guidance on Wind Turbines Issued

Everyone agrees that harnessing wind power is a good idea but living close to a wind turbine can cause issues particularly in relation to noise. Flicker can also be a problem if the turbine blades cast a shadow on a property.

The Government has recently produced draft Guidelines for public consultation. When finalised, these guidelines will replace the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.

The revised noise and shadow flicker sections of the Wind Energy Development Guidelines being put out for public consultation proposes;

  • The setting of a more stringent absolute noise limit (day and night) of 40 decibels (dB) for future wind energy developments.  This limit is an outdoor limit, in general the reduction of noise levels between the outside of a dwelling and inside would be approximately 10 decibels.
  • A mandatory setback of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest dwelling for amenity considerations.
  • A condition be attached to all future planning permissions for wind farms to ensure that there will be no shadow flicker at any dwelling within 10 rotor diameters of a wind turbine. If shadow flicker does occur, the wind energy developer or operator will be required to take necessary measures, such as turbine shut down for the period necessary, to eliminate the shadow flicker.

Submissions on the draft Guidelines, prepared by New Zealand based Marshall Day Acoustics can be made up to the 21st February 2014.

The proposed revisions to the guidelines and the Marshall Day Acoustics noise study are available online at in addition to information on making written submissions during the public consultation period.