A more stringent absolute outdoor noise limit (day and night) of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments than that which pertains under the current Guidelines, has been proposed in the draft revisions to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines. This takes into account the 2009 World Health Organisation’s findings in relation to night time noise, when people are generally sleeping, and the recent review of international practice on wind noise undertaken by Marshall Day Acoustics. That review indicates that 40 decibels is commonly used in other countries as an absolute noise limit.
It should be emphasised that the proposed absolute noise limit of 40 decibels is an outdoor limit. Generally, the reduction in noise levels between the outside of a dwelling and the inside would be approximately 10 decibels or more. Consequently an outdoor limit set at this level would generally result in a noise level of about 30 decibels or less inside a dwelling. As part of the focused review of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines, my Department has written to the Department of Health inviting any input that it might have on the public health aspects, if any, of wind farms and preliminary discussions have taken place.
Following consideration of all the submissions received on the proposed revisions to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines during the recent public consultation process, my Department will consult further with the Department of Health prior to finalising the revised Guidelines.