Rarely has the installation of wind turbines caused a bigger stir than when seven were erected near the Cumbrian town of Barrow in 1998.
Residents are often prepared to object when they feel their lives are being disrupted, but five people went much further on this occasion.
Couples Stephen and Julie Lainson and Les and Betty Nichols along with Eddie Albion took the companies responsible for installing the 30-metre-high turbines near their homes to court over the matter.
They claimed Powergen and Wind Prospect, a parent company of Wind Direct, the firm dealing with Derby City Council, had caused them to experience nausea, headaches and anxiety by installing the turbines.
In its defence, Powergen and Wind Prospect highlighted the fact that they had spent £50,000 on fitting equipment to reduce noise.
In a verdict that gave a huge boost to wind farm manufacturers and operators, district judge Peter Wallis, sitting at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court, Kendal, dismissed the case in January, 2004.
He ruled: “The residents had to prove an alleged statutory noise nuisance exists or is likely to recur.
“Audibility and annoyance are not to be equated with nuisance.”
People installing wind turbines, whether on a grand scale as in wind farms or on their own property, must first obtain planning permission.
Applications are open to the usual scrutiny by neighbours and anyone else who could be affected by the installation.
Planning authorities must also consider any objections put forward before coming to their decision.
6 February 2007
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