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Farmer depressed over wind farm

A farmer living close to a wind farm has said he had been put on Prozac anti-depressants to help him deal with the effect of noise coming from the massive turbines.

Nick Williams, 53, has been prescribed the drug by his GP after suffering insomnia and depression he blames on noise from towering Fullabrook Wind Farm, several hundred yards from his Christmas tree farm in north Devon.

He said the noise from the 66-megawatt farm, which is yet to operate at capacity after extensive testing since it was opened last October, has left him a mental wreck, unable to sleep because of the “thudding” noise and liable to burst into tears for no reason.

Noise testing at the site is not due to start until next month, but the burly divorcee, who lives alone at the farm with his two dogs, said: “I have been made to feel like a prisoner in my own home, which is wrong.

“I go up to Bath to see my daughter and I don’t want to come back here. And this house was my dream. It is affecting my health. I am in pain. I bought the bungalow because it was in a beautiful location with beautiful views. I brought it for the tranquillity and that has been destroyed.”

Mr Williams’ doctor has now prescribed him Prozac, under its medical name of fluoxetine, to help him cope with the noise.

The former landscape gardener bought the prefabricated property and land for £156,000 in 2005 after moving to the site in 1999. He had the land valued at £400,000 in 2008, but said an estate agent had valued it at just £220,000 last year after the wind farm was completed.

Unlike many of the farmhouses in the area, the 1960s building has thin walls, allowing noise from the wind farm to seep through, with the worst noise at night, Mr Williams said.

Fullabrook Wind Farm consists of 22 turbines, each 360ft from the ground to the tip of the blade when vertical and producing 3mW of power.

Local authority North Devon Council announced on Tuesday that ESB, the wind farm’s owner, had agreed to undertake noise monitoring at 12 sites, an increase from five test sites originally planned. Council leader Brian Greenslade said: “We are pleased that the developer has agreed that up to 12 sites can be monitored for noise levels. We consider this as a very positive step by the developer in addressing the concerns of residents.”