Saturday, 26 November 2011

Maclachrieston Farm turbine # 1

In 2010, a single wind turbine was approved for erection at Maclachrieston Farm (it's the blue, individual turbine in the centre of the map below):





I don't normally comment on small turbines but then again, this is not a small turbine. Weighing in at 177 feet (54 metres), it definitely fits into the industrial category. Its original consent was, in my opinion inappropriate given the turbine's size and prominent sighting. At the time the original consent was issued, a noise limitation was imposed on the turbine's operation. Seems reasonable. The relevant part of the condition stated; '...and no more than 35dB(A) at wind speeds of up to 10m/s and at 10m height at Asselholm Cottage and the nearest noise-sensitive properties in the village Pinmore......'.

In a supporting document that forms part of the latest planning application referring to this turbine, the applicant suggests that their original acoustic report stated: ...the findings of the noise assessment, which determines the Maclachrieston Farm Single Wind Turbine to be in accordance with ETSU-R-97, based on limits of the higher of 35dB(A) or 5dB above background noise at Asselholm Cottage and the nearest noise sensitive properties in the village if Pinmore.

In actual fact, the original report suggested that a background noise survey was in the opinion of the consultants, not required (page 4, para' 6 refers). Additionally, it stated: 'We consider the simplified noise criterion of 35 dB, LA90, 10min at wind speeds of up to 10ms-1 would be an appropriate and achievable noise limit to apply through conditions for properties in Pinmore.' (page 4, para' 4 refers).

The current planning application (reference 11/01464/FUR) seeks to change this noise limitation condition to the following: '...and no more than the higher of 35dB(A) or 5dB above background noise at wind speeds of up to 10m/s and at 10m height at Asselholm Cottage and the nearest noise-sensitive properties in the village Pinmore......'

So what is going on? I am not an acoustics expert, but I can read English. South Ayrshire Council in my very humble opinion, gave the applicant precisely what was recommended in the original acoustic report. And now, the applicant seeks to change that and reduce the protection offered to those un-connected individuals in the immediate vicinity of the turbine. Why? I cannot answer that question, but this will be an interesting application to watch.