House of Lords calls for 2km setbacks (United Kingdom)

Jul 29, 2010


Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill

Editor’s note.  Be aware that the following bill, bearing the above title, has not yet been passed by the House of Lords.  At this point it is merely a proposal.  It will be debated and then voted on.

A bill to make provision for a minimum distance between wind turbines and residential premises according to the size of the wind turbine; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1.  Planning permission

(1) No relevant authority may grant planning permission for the construction of a wind turbine generator unless it meets the minimum distance requirement under section 2, subject to the exception in section 3.

(2) “Relevant authority” means the local authority or government department with the power to grant planning permission for a wind turbine generator.

2.  Requirements for minimum distance

(1) The “minimum distance requirement” means the necessary minimum distance between the wind turbine generator and residential premises as set out in subsection (4).

(2) “Residential premises” means any premises the main purpose of which is to provide residential accommodation, including farmhouses.

(3) If a number of wind turbine generators are being built as part of the same project the minimum distance requirement applies to each wind turbine generator individually.

(4) If the height of the wind turbine generator is—

(a) greater than 25m [82 feet], but does not exceed 50m [164 feet], the minimum distance requirement is 1000m [3280 feet = 0.62 mile];

(b) greater than 50m [164 feet], but does not exceed 100m [328 feet], the minimum distance requirement is 1500m [4921 feet = 0.93 mile];

(c) greater than 100m [328 feet], but does not exceed 150m [492 feet], the minimum distance requirement is 2000m [2km = 6562 feet = 1.24 miles];

(d) greater than 150m [492 feet], the minimum distance requirement is 3000m [3km = 9843 feet = 1.86 miles].

(5) The height of the wind turbine generator is measured from the ground to the end of the blade tip at its highest point.

(6) There is no minimum distance requirement if the height of the wind turbine generator does not exceed 25m [82 feet].

(7) If planning permission is granted on the condition that the proposed wind turbine generator meets the minimum distance requirement under subsection (5) the actual height of the wind turbine generator must not exceed the maximum height in relation to that minimum distance.

3.  Exception

(1) The local authority may grant planning permission for the construction of a wind turbine generator which does not meet the minimum distance requirement under section 2(4) if the condition under subsection (2) is met.

(2) The condition is that the owners of all residential premises which fall within the minimum distance requirement for the proposed wind turbine generator must agree in writing to the construction of the wind turbine generator.

(3) It is the duty of a relevant authority to ensure that no written agreement is elicited by unlawful means and that all necessary written agreements have been received before planning permission is granted.

4.  Short title and extent

(1) This Act shall be known as the Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Act 2010.

(2) This Act extends to England and Wales.

  1. Comment by Peggy on 07/29/2010 at 2:23 pm

    great news! finally, someone is listening!

  2. Comment by Annette Phillips on 08/02/2010 at 12:17 am

    If only the Government in New Zealand would wake up to the urgent requirements for setbacks here in New Zealand. Instead they are happy to have the hard-working taxpayer suffer by inflicting noise torture and loss of equity in their biggest asset – their home!!!!!

  3. Comment by John Bidwell on 04/03/2012 at 10:21 am

    Planning departments are compelled to pass planning applications that comply with the current outdated guidelines and regulations, because, if on appeal the applicant is successful, the local authority has to meet the bill for the appeal.

    We nearly had an 88.5 meter turbine within 365 meters of a small residentual estate in Darwen, Lancashire (UK). The applicant withdrew the application for as yet an unknown reason.

    Unfortunately, it is low priority to update the regualtions and guidelines, and many people are at risk until this happens.

  4. Comment by Richard Freeman on 08/06/2012 at 9:36 am

    Requirements for minimum distance


    After visual most complaints are about excessive noise from turbines.
    noise by definition is-
    WHICH WOULD LEAD TO annoyance
    “The word annoyance may mean different things to different people, however in clinical terms annoyance is acknowledged to be a risk to human health.”
    Annoyance can have major consequences primarily to one’s overall health.
    To protect humans against the adverse health effects by noise level the limits should be based on annoyance responses to noise and not OUTDATED PPG 24 RULES, that were PRODUCED IN 1997 by a working group which recommended that they be reviewed after a year. NO REVIEW OF NOISE RULES HAS TAKEN PLACE.

    The main conclusion of scientific studies state noise from wind turbines is more annoying than noise from most other sources at comparable sound levels such as airport and traffic noise and sound levels especially the low frequency part will spread much farther than generally accepted.

    This annoyance is attributed to the unique sound characteristics of wind turbine noise.

    Because wind is constantly changing its velocity and direction it means that the inflowing air stream is rarely stable, which will also change the character of the noise which should be taken into account as well as its level of sound.

    INFRASOUND is- low frequency NOISE or sound WAVES OR VIBRATIONS.
    Covering sounds beneath 20 Hz down to 0.001 Hz.

    Infrasound is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 Hz (Hertz) or cycles per second below the normal limit of human hearing. Hearing becomes gradually less sensitive as frequency decreases, so for humans to perceive infrasound the sound pressure must be sufficiently high. The ear is the primary organ for sensing infrasound, but at lower levels it is possible to feel infrasound vibrations in various parts of the body.
    Wind turbines may cause low frequency noise to induced annoyance both inside and outside a building.

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