September 29, 2010

Hill family’s fury after being told to ‘close curtains’ to block out turbines

By Liza-Jane Gillespie, Gazette, 29 September 2010

A family from Hill are furious after being told by an energy firm to close their curtains if they do not want to see wind turbines.

The Soffe family claim they were given the advice by Wind Prospect Developments, the company behind plans to build four 127-metre high wind turbines on land off Hill Lane, called Stoneyard.

According to the family they raised concerns about shadow flicker, a strobing effect created when the sun is behind the blades of a turbine, and were told to install curtains.

Mum-of-one Alex Soffe, said: “The shadow flicker is only going to affect a few houses that are to the north east of the development, but that includes us.

“The only solution Wind Prospect have offered is to install curtains. They are expecting me to sit in my house, during the day, with the curtains closed. It’s ridiculous.”

Mrs Soffe, along with husband Simon and two-year-old son Arthur, only moved to the village just six months ago, but now face having a wind farm built 700 metres from their new home.

“Our initial concern was about the visual impact. The turbines are so enormous and we are in a very low lying area. They are completely out of proportion.

“More concerning for me is the effect of the noise. They say it will meet noise limits but just because it is within these limits doesn’t mean it won’t be noisy,” she said.

The family have also said they are frustrated by the lack of legislation on wind farms. For example in Scotland turbines are recommended not to be built within two kilometres of homes.

Sophie Nioche, development manager at Wind Prospect, said: “With many wind farms noise and visual impact are the crux issues.

“With modern turbines mechanical noise is inaudible, it has been designed out. Aerodynamic noise is reduced the further away you get from the turbines.

“We can mitigate against shadow flicker. If it were affecting an industrial building there are special blinds you can get but we certainly wouldn’t recommend that for a house.

“For shadow flicker to happen the sun and the turbine have to line up exactly, so it might only happen a few hours a year. There is technology that when this happens the turbine can be switched off.

“We would encourage local people to go and see a wind farm to allow them to get a better understanding of how they work.”

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