The 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines are the present guidelines in place in relation to wind farms. In addition to providing appropriate day and night time noise limits, of either a lower fixed limit of 45 decibels or a relative fixed limit of 5 decibels over background noise together with a fixed night time limit of 43 decibels, the existing Guidelines also provide for a setback distance from a wind turbine of 500m in this context.
In December 2013, my Department published proposed “draft” revisions to the noise, setbacks and shadow flicker aspects of the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines.
These draft revisions proposed:
- the setting of a more stringent day and night noise limit of 40 decibels for future wind energy developments,
- a mandatory minimum setback distance of 500 metres between a wind turbine and the nearest dwelling for amenity considerations, and
- the complete elimination of shadow flicker between wind turbines and neighbouring dwellings.
The proposed noise limit takes account of the World Health Organisation’s 2009 Night Noise Guidelines for Europe, which recommend s an outdoor limit of 40 decibels for night time noise.
During the public consultation process on these proposed draft revisions to the Guidelines, my Department received submissions from 7,500 organisations and members of the public.
My Department is considering the submissions received in relation to this focused review. It is intended that the revisions to the 2006 Wind Energy Development Guidelines will be finalised as soon as possible.