March 8, 2012

Noise tests done at wrong time for wind

North Devon Journal, 8 March 2012

Fears about a change in wind speed and direction at Fullabrook Wind Farm during the site’s noise testing have come to fruition in the testing’s first two weeks.

People who live near the 22-turbine site felt North Devon Council’s testing of the noise was badly timed because the stronger winds experienced during the winter would have eased.

The testing began on February 20 and over the last two weeks the Met Office confirmed from the readings they take at Chivenor the average wind speed has been 8.5 mph with gusts at an average speed of 19mph.

In comparison the stormy weather seen in December and January saw 60mph winds batter North Devon.

On the Beaufort Wind Speed Scale 8.5mph is described as a “gentle breeze, leaves and small twigs in constant motion; wind extends light flag”, while a 60mph wind is described as a storm with “trees uprooted and much structural damage”.

People who have suffered with turbine noise over the past five months have noticed a considerable difference to what they can hear inside their houses in the last month because the wind has changed direction or it is not blowing at all.

John Pearce, who lives at Pippacott, predicted this would happen a month ago.

He said: “This is altering the results at the end of it. The winds got up a bit over the weekend but that doesn’t make up for the first two weeks.”

North Devon Council has now said they are aware of the light winds and that they will extend the testing period if necessary.

But Mr Pearce added: “Even if they extend it the initial readings will affect the overall average.”

Margaret Hamley, who lives at Middle Marwood said it depended on the wind direction as to when she can hear the turbines, but she has not noticed much difference in the last couple of weeks compared to the last few months.

She can see two turbines from her kitchen and she added: “They do groan away but I think here in Marwood we are a bit protected because we are lower down.”

Pauline Stentiford, who has lived in Marwood for 27 years, has three turbines about half a mile away.

She said: “I don’t know whether it is coincidence or not, but as soon as the testing equipment arrived there has been no wind.

“In my house it depends what room you are in whether you can hear them. Always in the bathroom and one of the bedrooms, but luckily not the one I sleep in.”

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