Norway — MoE ignores wind turbine neighbours’ complaints of noise, poor sleep and headaches

Hans E. h. Jacobsen — Aftenbladet — February 21, 2013

A number of residents nearest to the wind farm on Høg-Jæren are struggling with poor sleep, headaches, and other complaints.

They believe the cause is the constant swishing sound and turbine roar from the wind turbines put into operation in 2011.

For a long time, they have been hoping that the government would introduce requirements for low frequency noise from wind turbines. These have been in vain.

Attempted secrecy

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy initially refused Aftenbladet’s request for access to Ministry of the Environment documents showing which advice it had given regarding noise level limits around the Svåheia wind power plant, to which Dalane Vind AS was granted the concession on 12 February.

Officials subsequently decided the letter was not as classified as first thought following Aftenbladet’s complaint about this. The document actually built on an open report Danish company Delta delivered on behalf of the Climate and Pollution Agency (KLIF).

The report is based on a number of noise measurements from small and large wind turbines, as well as international research. The conclusion is that low-frequency noise is part of the total noise picture, and therefore is no worse than other noise. Special health problems from low-frequency noise are also not proven.

Quashed

As a rule, it is completely unnecessary for a specified limit for low-frequency noise if the Norwegian limit of 45 decibel audible wind turbine noise measured outside is adhered to. Denmark introduced a special indoor low-frequency noise limit in 2011.

KLIF also cites that Norway’s insulated houses also dampen external noise, making circumstances different to the Danes’.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy took this and other advice into account when granting Dalane Vind AS a license for eight wind turbines on Svåheia. Complaints from 31 neighbours were thus rejected.

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