People living close to the Westcountry site of the UK’s biggest onshore wind farm have complained of noise and poor television and mobile phone reception.
A survey by North Devon MP Nick Harvey revealed issues with 62 residents living in the shadow of the 22 giant turbines at Fullabrook, which began testing four months ago and are set to go operational later this month.
The poll, which was launched last month after a public meeting and continues on Mr Harvey’s website, showed that 76 per cent had experienced noise from the turbines, with 17 per cent complaining of a loss of TV signal. It also revealed that 14 per cent reported a loss of mobile phone signal and 24 per cent said they had experienced a “flicker” effect from the blades as they spin.
“Whether it is a case of upgrading aerials on people’s properties or switching individual turbines off during certain wind conditions, I am hopeful we can find a way forward,” he said.
Mr Harvey hopes the information gathered will allow an “informed dialogue” with the company behind the wind farm.
Fullabrook, between Barnstaple and Ilfracombe, was originally developed by Devon Wind Power then taken over by a subsidiary of Ireland’s state electricity supplier, Electricity Supply Board (ESB), in 2009. When it begins generating on November 28, the array of 65-metre-high turbines with 45-metre blades are expected to feed up to 66 megawatts into the national grid via a substation on the site.
An ESB spokesman said during construction that problems raised by local residents “were looked into and, where possible and appropriate, addressed”.
The spokesman said specialist contractors were investigating and seeking to resolve issues with TV reception and undertaking “interim noise measurements”.
“This noise monitoring is separate from the formal monitoring, to be overseen by North Devon Council, which will ensure we are compliant with the stringent conditions set out in the planning consent,” he added.
“We recently provided Nick Harvey’s office with a full briefing on most of the issues people have raised in his survey, explaining the steps we were already undertaking to meet with those residents and – where appropriate – seeking to address those concerns. We welcome his further input.”
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