Announcement from ‘Buren van Rijnenburg and Reijerscop (BVRR)’

At the beginning of September this year, councilor Van Hooijdonk informed the city council of Utrecht that the application for permission for four wind turbines with a maximum tip height of 270 meters in Rijnenburg and Reijerscop is under consideration. The municipality wants to take further steps this year with a draft regulatory plan and a draft environmental plan. The councilor refers to the summary and conclusions of the environmental impact statement (MER) with rosy conclusions about noise pollution.

“Despite the fact that wind turbines could not be installed before 2026, the municipality of Utrecht and Rijne Energie are now choosing a kind of urgent process, where carelessness threatens and residents and landowners are disadvantaged in information” according to BVRR.

Pieter van Veenen from BVRR: ‘The municipality and Rijne Energie will cycle through the whole thing, just before the new environmental law comes into force on 1-1-2023. But the new national noise standards for wind turbines, which are now being developed, and the updated studies from RIVM on the health effects of noise pollution from wind turbines are also being ignored.’

BVRR: ‘The municipality refuses to provide access to the full EIA report (172 pages + annexes/references), because it still has the status of a draft report. At the same time, the municipality anticipates the report’s conclusions in the council letter and the press release. The summary of the EIA statement comes to unfounded and unverifiable rosy conclusions about the noise impact of the turbines. How can you draw conclusions if there is no final report yet? And how much time will stakeholders have to study and respond to hundreds of pages in the future? 6 weeks?’

Wind turbines in Rijnenburg block 25,000 new homes
The councilor writes that the noise level for the new wind turbines will be lower than 45 dB, the GGD’s or WHO’s maximum standard, compared to what we find acceptable for motorways or railways. ‘We assume that wind turbines and possible future housing construction are compatible with each other’said Utrecht councilor Van Hooijdonk.

However, there is currently no legal standard for noise exposure, after the environmental standard has been rendered ineffective by a decision from the Council of State. And the WHO has indicated that its proposed noise standards are outdated and should be revised based on more recent studies.

In reality, the 45dB guideline is also based on annual averages. This hides the fact that you will be faced with audible noise on many days in adverse winds.

Conclusion: ‘The new Rijnenburg district is almost exclusively planned north of Nedereindseweg and will therefore regularly experience serious noise nuisance from the aforementioned turbines.’

Wind turbines in Rijnenburg and Reijerscop can be heard on the other side of the motorways
The four planned turbines are located approximately 800 to 900 meters from the residential areas of De Meern and Nieuwegein. Studies from 2018 and 2019 have shown that in the case of unfavorable winds, there will be several hours of audible noise for several hours at night.

Health risks Low-frequency noise: The required distance of at least 1.8 km
Audiologist Jan de Laat from the Leiden Medical University Center has published in recent years about the health risks of low-frequency noise (LFG). About five to ten percent of local residents appear to be extra sensitive to audible and inaudible LFG and develop health problems. Now that the old noise standards are no longer applicable due to the Swedish Council’s decision, De Laat argues for a clear distance standard for homes. LFG affects local residents within a radius of a few kilometers. To limit the worst damage, the distance to homes should be at least ten times the mast height.

The planned turbines with a maximum tip height of 270 have a mast height of 180 meters and should therefore be located at least 1.8 km from homes. The planned turbines will then block future residential development throughout the central area from Rijnenburg to Nedereindseweg and will also affect a strip of approximately 1 km on the other side of the motorways in the surrounding neighborhoods of De Meern and Nieuwegein.

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