Inaudible wind farm noise a myth?

Areport released by the South Australian Environment Protection Authority (EPA)has put to rest a common myth about wind farms.

Wind farms are said to create dangerous levels of infrasound, asound too low for humans to hear, that can be harmful to people who live nearwind turbines.

However, according to a report released by the EPA the level of infrasoundfrom wind turbines is insignificant and no different to any other source ofnoise.

The report listed air-conditioners, traffic and noise generateby people the worst contributors to household infrasound.

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said thereport provided some much-needed clarity in a debate that has often beenclouded by misinformation.

“South Australia’s EPA is the most experienced regulatoryauthority in Australia when it comes to wind farm noise, and this new reportprovides hard evidence that wind turbines do not cause increased levels ofinfrasound in surrounding areas, neither inside people’s homes nor outdoors,”Mr Marsh said.

“The study included houses in rural and urban areas, houses bothadjacent to a wind farm and away from turbines, and measured the levels ofinfrasound with the wind farms operating and also switched off.

“There were no noticeable differences in the levels ofinfrasound under all these different conditions. In fact, the lowest levels ofinfrasound were recorded at one of the houses closest to a wind farm, whereasthe highest levels were found in an urban office building.”

The EPA’s study concluded that the level of infrasound at housesnear wind turbines was no greater than in other urban and ruralenvironments.

Some anti-wind farm campaigners have argued that wind turbinesgenerate levels of infrasound that cause health effects in people living closeby.

This latest report comes on top of the findings of a SouthAustralian Senate committee on wind farms and excessive noise, which said in areport in November last year that “there is no evidence to suggest thatinaudible infrasound (either from wind turbines or other sources) is creatinghealth problems”.

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