Lochgelly is impacted upon by three industrial sources of Noise Pollution; the Bypass, Mossmorran and Little Raith Wind Farm. Currently, SEPA is responsible for monitoring noise at the Mossmoran complex, and in the Section 75 Agreement for Little Raith Wind Farm, the developers will be responsible for monitoring noise if any complaints are made. As for the bypass, this has already been established and sound level data is publicly available at:
Noise PollutionThe Mossmorran complex is a producer of Noise Pollution which is most apparent during flaring events, which has been likened to a jet plane constantly overhead.
SEPA will monitor for this type of Noise Pollution, but due to the random nature of the flaring and noise events, by the time SEPA react to complaints, the noise event may be finished.
Wind Farms produce audible noise, and two turbines have been identified for creating mechanical noise. It is widely stated that mechanical noise from turbines have been mostly eliminated in newer models, therefore we can only assume, that the two turbines producing mechanical noise have already developed faults.
Wind Farms also produce Low Frequency Noise which acoustic engineers state should be tested using the DBc Frequency to get a more accurate reading of the low frequency noise being produced.
Low Frequency Noise is usually inaudible to the human ear but is noted that it still impacts on the health of humans and can cause vibration within peoples homes.
When the developers submitted their hypothetical noise modeling report, they used the DBa method as legally required by UK legislation for wind farm noise (ETSU-R-97), this has been identified by various groups and experts as being inadequate and out of date, as it does not take into account newer wind turbine models that have vastly increased in size from when the regulations were first written.
Kennedy Renewables will be legally responsible to address noise issues by covering the cost of acoustic engineers, however, any testing will be conducted using the DBa method which does not accurately record Low Frequency Noise Pollution.
Reaction times to noise complaints may not be adequate to address local concerns regarding noise pollution events and issues.
Noise SolutionsWe are seeking to purchase two industry standard, hand-held sound monitoring devices and one outdoor sound monitoring device. The reason we are seeking these devices is to try and afford the local community additional protection and recourse for any industrial noise complaints.
Whilst, SEPA and Kennedy Renewables will monitor sound levels during a complaint, there is a concern that by the time SEPA or Kennedy Renewables react to a complaint the noise event may be finished, therefore, at times no data will be recorded for specific noise events.
By purchasing community owned devices, residents will be able to contact us and request monitoring to be conducted at their households. Since all our volunteers are based in Lochgelly, we will have a much quicker reaction and response time, and the data that is collected will be invaluable and provide further evidence of noise issues for the resident(s) being impacted.
The devices we are seeking allow all data to be recorded and downloaded onto a computer. Software is provided for further detailed analysis which we will publish online. We intend to make all noise recording using the DBa and DBc frequency so that audible noise pollution and low frequency noise pollution will be recorded accurately.
The devices we are currently seeking are:
- 2 x Pulsar Model 14 – Handheld sound device which will be operated by volunteers and will allow data to be collected quickly to identify if there is an issue of Noise Pollution. Model can record DBa & DBc frequencies. Further Details: http://www.pulsarinstruments.com/products/product/model_14/
- 1x Model 33/33-2 with outdoor kit – Allows the sound monitoring equipment to be placed on the property of any resident that is currently having industrial noise issues. Equipment will be set-up for longer durations allowing more in-depth data sets to be recorded. Further Details: http://www.pulsarinstruments.com/products/product/model_33_33-2
Once we have purchased the equipment through funding, we will be seeking a resident in the South St, Watters Crescent area who would like to be trained in the usage of one of the devices, to be stored in their household, so that anytime there is a noise event, they can automatically take a recording.
Other devices will remain with our volunteers, and we will provide a public number to contact during any noise events, at which point one of our volunteers will quickly go to the resident making the complaint to gather sound level data.
Health Effects of NoiseNoise causes a wide range of health effects, including;
- sleep disturbance;
- cardiovascular effects;
- damage to work and school performance;
- hearing impairment including tinnitus.
Further information on Noise & Health is available at; World Health Organisation.
Literature reviews and peer reviewed scientific articles confirm the symptoms associated with low frequency noise exposure include annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus, heart ailments anxiety, stitch and beating palpitation
Further Information on Low Frequency Noise and Wind Turbines is available at: Low Frequency Noise, Infrasound and Wind Turbines.