Rule changes for frost fans

The New Zealand Winegrowers Association called Marlborough District Council's decision to change rules governing the placement of frost fans a "disproportional response", at a hearing of the Environment Court in Blenheim yesterday.

The association had lodged an appeal against proposed changes to the council's Wairau/Awatere resource management plan, which would restrict noise levels to 55 decibels within 300 metres of the machines.

Council lawyer Stephen Quinn said the changes were made in response to an increase in public complaints about the frost fan noise. The council's plan was designed to balance the interests of the public with the winegrowers.

Other changes include penalties for fans which produced special audible characteristics - slapping and humming sounds which create pressure on the ear drum and can cause discomfort similar to having an open window in a moving car, Mr Quinn said.

Waihopai resident Michael Hyson said more pressure should be applied against frost fan manufacturers to make fans that would not keep residents awake.

His house was between two sets of frost fans, one two-bladed and one four-bladed, and the two-bladed ones were much louder, he said. ‘The noise just cuts through the house. It cuts through everything."

Association lawyer Marija Batistich said the proposed changes to the resource management plan were more restrictive than any other plan in the country and that no model of frost fan was available that would constantly operate under the decibel threshold proposed.

The Marlborough Express