A family’s home has become the image at the centre of a campaign against controversial plans for a wind farm.
If a proposal to put seven turbines on farmland on the Staffordshire-Shropshire border goes ahead, Roger and Kate Brookes will be living 800 yards from the nearest one.
Their plight is now being highlighted in a series of leaflets being distributed throughout the nearby communities of Knighton, Woore and Norton-in-Hales.
The leaflets feature a picture of their £200,000 home, where they live with their 18-month-old son George, with a superimposed image of one of the turbines.
Nuon, the firm behind the plans, has responded by saying the image is inaccurate.
Mr Brookes, a 38-year-old IT and business training manager, said: “It is going to have a large impact. There will be a lot of noise 24 hours a day. It doesn’t stop just because it goes dark.
“All the turbines are south-facing so we will get a constant flicker all day long, which has been known to bring on epileptic fits.
“We are expecting a 30 per cent devaluation on our property, which is worth around £200,000. That is what we have been told by an estate agent. We are looking at losing a minimum of £50,000.
“Our son is going to spend the next 20 years of his life with this constant noise and flicker.
“It will affect our standard of living and our health.”
He said Mrs Brookes, aged 36, had raised their concerns to a Nuon representative during a consultation meeting.
He said: “His answer was we all have to make a sacrifice for green energy and that might be yours.
“I’m being told I have to sacrifice my health and my child’s health for the sake of renewable energy.”
Action group Vortex has mocked up a photo showing what they believe the Brookes’ home will look like when the turbines are in place.
This photo is being used in campaign literature aimed at convincing councillors and residents to oppose the wind farm when a planning application is submitted to North Shropshire District Council.
Mr and Mrs Brookes moved into their home in Dorrington Lane, Woore, 13 years ago for the peace and quiet as well as the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. They had hoped to remain there for a long time.
Mr Brookes said: “We were lucky to get where we live right in the heart of the Shropshire-Staffordshire countryside. We have wonderful views, but that will be totally destroyed by the turbines if the wind farm goes ahead.”
Mr Brookes added: “It is making people ill. I have been told some women are on antidepressants since all this started. It is like being threatened in your own home.”
The seven wind turbines will be 105 metres tall – a similar height to St Paul’s Cathedral or the equivalent of 24 double decker buses piled on top of each other.
A 60-metre meteorological mast is already in place at Lower Farm, Bearstone Road, Norton-in-Hales, to measure wind speeds in the area.
Mr Brookes said: “The mast is slap bang in the middle of my lounge window but it is not as tall as what might be coming. The mast doesn’t move.We look at that mast and imagine it double the height and making a constant noise.”
He added he had asked a Nuon representative to spell out what advantages there would to the local community if the wind farm went ahead.
Mr Brookes said: “He ummed and aahed. I asked if we would get cheaper electricity and he said no.
“I asked will it create employment and he said no. There will be no benefit to the local community. ”
A Nuon spokesman said the leaflet made the turbine look closer to the Brookes’ home than it would be.
He said: “The image suggests a turbine in the back garden rather than at a distance approaching half a mile away.
“Nuon will be producing a range of photomontages following recognised guidelines and these will be presented in full within the Environment Statement supporting the planning application and available for scrutiny and comment.”
He said: “If the Brookes feel that it was suggested they had to make a sacrifice to the greater good of addressing climate change this was a misunderstanding and not intended.
“The proposal has been designed with care and attention to the surrounding environment including residential properties, but it will obviously be the case that some residents will experience a changed view where these tall structures are in their line of sight.”
He said noise levels would be within Government guidelines at the proposed wind farm, which has been named Poplar Lane by Nuon.
He added: “On house prices the evidence is inconclusive, but it does point to the fear of a wind farm and the promotion of that fear being of far greater significance on values than the actuality of a wind farm once it is up and running.
“The assessment of the potential for a ‘flicker effect’ of sun light through the wind turbine blades and through windows represents an important consideration in the detailing of wind farm proposals.
“The Poplar Lane work on flicker is in hand and will be within the material supporting the planning application which Nuon is looking to complete and submit this year.”
Two people with experience of living near wind turbines are giving a talk at Woore Victory Hall on Thursday at 7.30pm.
30 September 2007
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