A wind farm with turbines as large as St Paul’s Cathedral planned for Woore has seen worried residents launch an action group to protect their homes and livelihoods.
VORTEX (Veto On Rural Turbine EXpansion) has several hundred members that have been campaigning against Nuon Renewables’ erection of the seven giant turbines, which would fall within close proximity to nearby schools and homes.
The group have invested in a number of consultants to help them fight the proposals – paid for by various fundraising events to support their cause.
Concerns raised by the group, who have been lobbying local government, include the devastating 40% devaluation of house prices, health implications from amplitude modulation of aerodynamic noise – including the recent medical revelations of vibro-acoustic disease (VAD) – and damage to the natural landscape and wildlife.
One VORTEX member, Stephen Ellsmoor who owns Dorrington Hall Farm which will fall within 700m of the proposed site, said that an evaluator estimated a devaluation of their farm of between £300,000 – £400,000 should the turbines get given the green light.
“We are expecting Nuon’s planning application to be submitted any time now and an evaluator has said that our farm is un-saleable at the moment,” he said.
“We don’t know how much it will affect us but when you hear about people not being able to live in their houses because of the noise we feel very nervous.
“I believe the noise will be an insupportable sound and it will be dreadful for us and other livestock farmers.”
A talk given by Jane and Julian Davis whose lives on their Lincolnshire farmhouse have been made hell by a nearby wind farm will be held at Woore Village Hall on October 4 at 7pm.
Fears have been expressed that the location of wind farms has become secondary to the government meeting its targets.
With 2000 more wind turbines needed to meet the onshore portion of the 2010 renewable energy targets, a recent report by the British Wind Energy Association revealed the UK is at risk of missing the target unless time taken for planning decisions is speeded up.
This is despite onshore wind farms being known to be less efficient than offshore sites, creating strong feeling amongst those potentially affected.
Jane Ellsmoor, a member of VORTEX who lives at Dorrington Hall Farm with her husband Stephen, said: “The manufacturing of turbines creates a huge carbon footprint for a small amount of electricity and the worst thing is they are trying to site them anywhere, despite them blighting people’s lives.”
Whilst VORTEX supports renewable energy sources, the group strongly objects to the placing of large turbines in populated rural areas.
Terry May, co-ordinator for VORTEX, said: “It seems really unfair – there are few rules as to where wind farms can be placed.
“There are 25 buildings within 1km of the prospective site and 780 within 3km and although the British Noise Society recommends that turbines are at least 2-3km away from properties the government is just ignoring this as they are trying to reach the Kyoto targets.
“And whilst only 10% of wind farms cause amplitude modulation, which results in low-frequency soundwaves inducing headaches and nausea, no-one knows what causes it or how to put it right so we can’t afford to let this proceed as we won’t know if we are getting a good farm or a bad one.”
A 60m high meteorological mast was erected in Woore four months ago to measure wind speeds and residents fear this an inevitable pre-cursor to the wind farm.
Despite Nuon giving a public exhibition in Dorrington last month, VORTEX says the energy company did not have the answers to their questions and refused to believe anything about noise problems.
Whilst Nuon were unavailable for comment, a spokesperson for North Shropshire District Council said: “We have not received a planning application from Nuon Renewables as of yet and when we do we will consult with all the neighbouring properties and other statutory consultees immediately.”
By Nicola Davies
6 September 2007
VORTEX Windfarm Action Group: vortex.uk.net
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