The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has admitted noise regulations are applied “inconsistently” by councils and planning inspectors.
They have ordered an investigation which may lead to stricter controls being imposed where officials have been too lax in the past.
Campaigners who claim their lives have been made a misery by constant turbine noise gave a cautious welcome to the review but said they wanted to see more wide-ranging changes. Energy companies also welcomed the move.
Current rules state that noise from wind farms should be limited to 5 decibels above background noise but in quieter areas the noise limit should be a maximum of 40 decibels in daytime – abput the volume of a humming fridge – and 43 decibels at night.
Charles Hendry, the energy minister, disclosed that a specialist company will begin a review next month into whether noise protection guidance is being applied by councils in a “consistent and effective manner”.
A DECC internal document, leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, reveals: “It has been brought to our attention that inconsistent approaches have been taken to the practical application of the guidance.
“We are keen to ensure that planning authorities and developers have clarity about best practice, to provide greater certainty and consistency within the planning system.”
Olive Repton, whose farm is a mile from the 15-turbine Dalswinton windfarm in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “I’m pleased to hear that ministers recognise there is a problem with noise for people all over the country.