Noise from wind turbines and noise from substations and electricity transmission infrastructure come under different laws. The Planning and Environment Act 1987 controls wind energy facility noise and sets the noise standard for wind turbine noise. Whereas it’s the laws for commercial, industrial and trade noise which set the noise standard for electricity transmission infrastructure noise.

Restricting wind turbine noise through planning permits

Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Victoria Planning Provisions, a proposal to develop a wind energy facility, also known as a wind farm, requires a planning permit. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is responsible for this process.

Noise standards and assessments manage wind energy facility noise through the planning approval process. For example, it’s prohibited to build wind energy facilities in some locations. By restricting where you can build facilities, you’re managing potential impacts from wind energy facility noise.

Assessing proposed wind energy facilities for noise

Approval for a planning permit requires a noise assessment for a proposed wind energy facility. This must comply with the New Zealand Standard NZS6808:2010, Acoustics – Wind Farm Noise. An EPA-appointed environmental auditor must then verify this assessment through an environmental audit under section 53V of the Environment Protection Act 1970. This is to make sure the noise assessment follows the New Zealand Standard.

On completing a wind energy facility, the operator must do a final noise assessment report. This post-construction noise assessment must confirm the wind energy facility complies with the approved planning permit noise conditions. Again, an environmental auditor must verify this assessment report.

The audit process outlined here commenced in October 2018. Wind energy facilities approved before this time don’t have this audit requirement.

You can report wind energy facility noise to the wind energy facility operator, your local council or the National Windfarm Commissioner. Before making a complaint to the Commissioner, you should try to resolve the matter with the wind energy facility operator.   

Read more about wind energy facility noise

About wind energy facilities

Wind energy facility: EPA’s role

Noise and your health 

Reviewed 7 April 2021