EPA works alongside the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to control wind energy facility noise.

Managing audits of noise assessments

DELWP provides guidelines and manages the planning approval process for wind energy facilities, also known as wind farms. Noise assessments and audits are part of the wind energy facility planning permit approval process. At the end of this process, the Minister for Planning is responsible for granting planning permits for new wind energy facilities.

It’s EPA’s role to manage the independent audits of noise assessments, before and after the building of wind energy facilities. EPA appointed auditors don’t do the noise assessments, testing or monitoring. Their role is to make sure the acoustic consultants do testing and monitoring following the NZ standard.

EPA provides guidelines for auditors, see Wind energy facility noise auditor guidelines (publication 1692).

Investigating noise from related infrastructures

While it’s not EPA’s role to assess wind turbine noise, we can investigate noise from related infrastructure. This comes under commercial, industrial and trade noise and includes noise from:

  • step-up transformers
  • substations that connect to the transmission grid
  • other onsite servicing or maintenance activities.

Related infrastructure doesn’t include transformers located at the base of a turbine, as this is part of the wind turbine.

EPA can also investigate noise from construction of wind energy facilities.

You can report noise from wind turbines 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 and the law

Noise and your health 

Reviewed 22 December 2020