ENVIRONMENT: NOISE & VISUAL IMPACT
Noise: it was an issue with some early wind turbine designs, but it has been largely eliminated as a problem through improved engineering and through appropriate use of setbacks from nearby residences:
Visual Impact is hard to avoid.
- today, the noise emission from a wind turbine with a hub height of 78 m, at a wind speed of 12-14 m/s and at a distance of 320 m amounts to only 41 dB(A). (Comparison: a normal conversation is 50 dB(A), night time in a hospital is 40 dB(A);
- the best test is to simply experience the noise from a turbine yourself. You will find that you can stand directly beneath a turbine and have a normal conversation without raising your voice.
- However careful planning that takes into account such things as the placement of wind farms, ensuring that all the generators are the same and that the blades all rotate in the same direction, can help reduce their negative visual impact.
- Developers are obliged to avoid the most sensitive landscapes such as national parks and areas of natural beauty and routinely undertake significant assessments of landscape and visual impact when preparing planning applications.
- A number of surveys have demonstrated that wind farms have no impact on tourism or the general public's perception of areas where they are located.