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People living near a wind farm north of Carmarthen say they have resorted to medication because the turbines are so loud.
They also claimed energy company Statkraft, which built and runs the Alltwalis Wind Farm, has admitted there is a noise problem – but told residents to “just live with it”.
The comments were made at the Welsh Government Petitions Committee, held last Wednesday, which saw some 50 people attend the Halliwell Conference Centre, in Carmarthen.
“The noise sounds like a tumble dryer,” said Terrence Neil, who lives with his wife, Cathryn, at Lan Farm, 900 metres from the site.
The former helicopter pilot added: “We moved here for the tranquility this area offered, but now my wife has to wake up with a migraine for which she has to take medication.”
Caryl Harris lives with her husband, Jeff, just over 800 metres from the site and is a member of the Blaengwen action group which opposed the initial build.
“This development has caused us as a family an enormous amount of stress and has impacted severely on our health,” she said. “I personally now suffer from very high blood pressure for which I am having to take medication.On discussing the effects of this with my GP I was offered a prescription for antidepressant medication – which I have refused to date as I am determined this is not going to get the better of me.
“But I have had to accept a prescription for sleeping tablets which I will only take as a last resort.”
Roger Hewitt, who also lives close by, added: “We should not be expected to take drugs to get a decent night’s sleep.”
The residents at the committee meeting discussed with a panel of Assembly Members a petition asking the Welsh Government to limit wind-turbine noise during “anti-social hours”.
The petition, launched by local campaigner James Shepherd Foster, has gained more than 1,000 signatures.
Residents said although Statkraft had distributed noise-measuring equipment in an attempt to remedy the problem, the firm’s representatives had not been helpful in dealing with their concerns.
Keith Morgan, who lives at Bryngolau, said: “A rep from Statkraft came up to our property regarding our fears and, to sum it up, the rep admitted there was a noise problem and her words were ‘you have got to just live with it’ – those were her exact words.”
Other people said Statkraft’s statement, that it had switched off the number 5 and 9 turbines voluntarily, was not true, and that the firm had done so only after numerous complaints.
The petition calls on the Welsh Government to switch off turbines more than 1.3mw during certain times of the day and night. It asks for turbines 1.5km away from individual residences to be turned off between 6pm and 6am, and those 2km from communities to shut down between 10pm and 6am.
Campaigners are also asking the Welsh Government to scrap the current noise regulations in favour of the quieter restrictions set out by the World Health Organisation. The Alltwalis Wind Farm consists of ten wind turbines, each 110 metres tall to the tip of the blade.
But people at the meeting said the area could see more than 80 more go up if all planning applications are approved.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas told the meeting: “I do hope this committee will take seriously what everyone has implied or said today, that their concerns have not been given serious consideration by Statkraft.”
The committee agreed to write to several Welsh Government committees, as well as the Welsh Environment Minister, John Griffiths.
It also said it would write to Statkraft to ask for a response to the residents’ claims.
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