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The unbearable dawn chorus

Much fun is being had at the Lancashire shale gas inquiry, which has been considering noise pollution. Cuadrilla have proposed that night-time noise should be limited to 42dB, which is described on this website as being akin to 

  • a library
  • birdsong.

As one might expect, this is not accepted by the council, although interestingly they seem to be playing fast and loose with the numbers. The council claims to be using WHO guidance on nighttime noise, and says that these specify a level of 30dB. However, the introduction of the WHO Night Noise Guidelines for Europe says this:

Considering the scientific evidence on the thresholds of night noise exposure indicated by Lnight,outside as defined in the Environmental Noise Directive (2002/49/EC), an Lnight,outside of 40 dB should be the target of the night noise guideline (NNG) to protect the public, including the most vulnerable groups such as children, the chronically ill and the elderly. Lnight,outside value of 55 dB is recommended as an interim target for the countries where the NNG cannot be achieved in the short term for various reasons, and where policy-makers choose to adopt a stepwise approach.

No doubt, if 30dB is the required noise level, people in rural Lancashire will be campaigning to slaughter the local songbird population.

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Reader Comments (19)

For wind turbines the night-time noise limit at noise sensitive properties (ie neighbouring dwellings) is 43dB(A). It is based on a 35dB(A) sleep disturbance criterion (WHO criterion) plus 10dB(A) attenuation through an open window and -2dB(A) for a complex correction. I bet not many people in Lancashire sleep with open windows. Details are provided in ETSU-R-97.

Feb 24, 2016 at 9:31 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

II wonder what the Night Noise is on an operational oil rig in the middle of a North Sea storm.

Feb 24, 2016 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I notice that the council's noise witness is Dr Andrew McKenzie. He is a well-known noise witness in favour of wind turbines and wind farms. This experience of having to argue that noise would be too high from fracking is the opposite of what he normally argues for wind farms. Mind you, noise witnesses for wind developers are totally unreliable and will say anything to push through wind farms in unsuitable locations close to dwellings.

Far be it for me to accuse them of lying - but I have seen McKenzie and his partner at HMP in action.

Feb 24, 2016 at 9:42 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

'The permitted noise level using A-weighted decibels (the unit environmental noise is usually measured in) is:

34 dBA (decibels adjusted) if the underlying level of noise is no more than 24 dBA
10 dBA above the underlying level of noise if this is more than 24 dBA'

Feb 24, 2016 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

Phillip Bratby
Can his evidence against Cuadrilla be used against him the next time he argues that windfarms won't disturb people at night? It would be a nice irony.

Feb 24, 2016 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

They're going to have to set aside time to have "sound physics 101"

Logarrithmic scales
Frequency weightings
Human perception


Just wait until they get to the earthquake and chemicals / radioactivity parts.

I hope they wheel out some hypersensitives like Lisa Scott and - is there an RSPB angle here? - I think we should be told.

Feb 24, 2016 at 12:16 PM | Registered Commentertomo

They're going to have to set aside time to have "sound physics 101"

Logarithmic scales
Frequency weightings
Human perception

Its worse. Remember the days of analogue TV when you slept all night through the loud hiss of a receiver tuned to no signal to wake up the moment the carrier hit the channel for the breakfast news?

Feb 24, 2016 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Smith

Leo Smith

I'm sure they can (if they want to) find some electrosensitives who will rail against the electromagnetic pollution and mind altering / tree stunting potential of the likely 30 or so WiFi emanating laptops which will be on site.

Everything will be presented on sustainably sourced unbleached recycled paper written in blockcaps with soot derived from organically grown wood applied with vegan goose quills.

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Should noise pollution be an issue used against Green Blob demonstrators? Some of their singing and chanting is very disruptive towards those trying to survive life. It is also quite painful to those that are not tone deaf, and Amnesty International might deem it Pychological Warfare

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Songbirds are famously confused by street-lighting. There's a Robin that regularly perches, late into the night, in the middle of my village. Lancashire faces a stark choice: do away with the street lights, or Tweety Pie gets it.

Since I'm from Lancashire, I can get away with pointing out that it looks better without street lights.

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

do away with the street lights, or Tweety Pie gets it.

only a matter of time.....

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:35 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The noise of fracking is the temporary set-up operations ...Then it continues for years silently.

Whereas the noise of windfarms goes on for years varying with the wind force and direction.

Feb 24, 2016 at 1:41 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This from Dimock. No contamination admitted by plaintiffs. I expect it is psychosomatics.

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianJay

Does this mean rain or high winds at night are illegal?
How about a creaky fence?
Garden wind chimes?
Backup diesel generators?
Lawn sprinkler system?

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Trusting no cars are allowed to drive in the locality during curfew time.

"New cars are now required to meet Europe-wide noise limits. These have been progressively reduced from 82 decibels (dB (A)) in 1978 to the current limit of 74 dB (A) established in 1996."

Feb 24, 2016 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Joe Public

meanwhile electric vehicles have the opposite problem and regulation to have them make noise is being actively explored - my vote goes for the Benny Hill theme tune at the same volume as ice cream vans ....(are they still allowed to "jingle" around residential areas?)

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:03 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The bad faith and irrational cynicism of the anti-fracking mob is on full display in this latest excuse to stop progress and impose tax payer funded scams like wind. Construction of a house or apartment building or commercial building would violate this interpretation of sound rules.
Windmills most certainly violate this interpretation.
Natural gas production wells generally operate at near silence.
Windmills always make loud, low pitch and subsonic noise when operating.
Windmills are blights that can be seen over level land or the ocean for over 20 miles.
You cannot see a gas well if there is a normal height hedge in the way.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Three foot high drain pipe sticking out the ground in a field in the middle of nowhere gererating millions for the economy of the country

Gonna need it to replace Didcot

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

3 foot high pipe sticking out the ground obviously not as loud and inconvient as neighbours complaining about a rowdy birthday party on a three acre estate in quiet rural South Wales at 3 o clock in the morning nosey bastards.

Feb 24, 2016 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

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