Ecosulis EIA and Planning team recently commenced hydro-geological and noise impact assessment for submission as part of a full EIA for a scheme in Cambridgeshire. The proposals include the installation of six turbines (140m to tip and 2-3 MWe output).
The work requires a detailed flood risk assessment and an ETSU R 97 (The Assessment and Rating of Noise from Wind Farms, DTI 1996) compliant assessment. To secure the work Ecosulis was required to demonstrate their experience of wind farm projects and Public Inquiries.
Ecosulis has broaden expertise in terms of noise for a broad range of development types and have up to date knowledge of legal precedents regarding what constitutes a robust ETSU assessment. In fact, as part of a recent masterclass in assessment methodology for the Association of European Lawyers, Rod Ellison outlined methods designed to reduce consenting risk for this method.
The basis of our preferred approach has been based on a review of ETSU assessments tested at Public Inquiry. We consider there are five areas where historically weaknesses have been pivotal in rejecting applications; namely
- Baseline monitoring methods (selected points, weather conditions, micro-siting)
- Baseline results (results fit for purpose? – LPA approval?)
- Standardising assessment methodology for cumulative model (huge variance in approach in TAN 8 areas)
- Erosion of prescribed margin above background level – often lower than + 5 DB (A)
- Consideration of wind sheer –(40/60% of hub height, assumptions within model)
With limited exceptions, permission for wind farms is hardly ever refused on the basis of noise impact when the inspector has accepted the assessment is ETSU-compliant. As such our approach is to interactively address the above five areas prior to the formal submission. This is a complex area and we happy to discuss with interested parties in greater depth.