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Nuisance from Wind Turbines and Heat Pumps

There are a variety of renewable energy schemes available, including the use of domestic and larger sized wind turbines and heat pumps (large pumps and fans that recover heat from the air or ground) - all of these can cause noise, which may disturb neighbours.

Despite current small numbers in use, some local authorities have received complaints about noise and vibration. Where complaints have been found to be justified, the cause of the problem is generally:

  • insecure fitting, causing vibration through the building
  • too close proximity to a neighbours property
  • non-use of a braking system during the night which reduces the speed of the turbine blades and therefore any noise produced.

Currently planning permission may be required from |Planning Services to install a wind turbine or heat pump, however, it is proposed that planning permission requirements may be relaxed in the future.

The Government plans to publish guidelines on wind turbines, which could include noise levels and separation distances from the turbine to any neighbouring property.

What can I do about wind turbine or heat pump noise?

In situations where the noise level from nearby premises becomes intolerable there are a number of courses of action open to you:

Initial Informal Action

  • Speak to the person causing the nuisance. Explain the disturbance and ask for co-operation to reduce the problem. Allow adequate time for your request to be considered and for any necessary action to be taken to reduce the noise.
  • If a direct approach fails, put your complaint in writing to the person causing the nuisance. Be polite in requesting a reduction in the disturbance. Allow adequate time for your request to be considered and for any necessary action to be taken to reduce the noise. Keep copies of all correspondence for future reference.
  • If the problem continues, or it is difficult to approach the person causing the noise, contact |Environmental Services in writing, by telephone, e-mail or use our |online nuisance report form. Provide as much information as possible about the problem including the days/times when it exists, any action you have already taken and copies of any correspondence, |nuisance record sheets and any short audio/visual clips you may have gathered.

Noise Amounting to a Nuisance

To take formal action it has to be established that the noise amounts to a "nuisance" in law, usually referred to as a "|statutory nuisance", and not merely an inconvenience. In any court case, evidence of dates, times and duration of the offending noise is necessary to prove the case e.g. |nuisance record sheets and a description of how the noise seriously disturbs you.


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