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Tougher protection needed against wind farm noise, call

A National Assembly committee has called for tougher noise guidelines to protect wind farm neighbours.

The Petitions Committee has called for faulty wind turbines to be switched off at night and for the introduction of buffer zones to protect nearby residents.

The report was produced in response to a petition with more than 1,000 signatures calling for greater control of noise from wind turbines. The committee concluded measures could be applied if the Welsh Government amended statutory planning guidance. with regards to faulty turbines and buffer zones.

The Welsh Government only has powers over planning concerning the siting of on-shore installations generating less than 50MW, but heard that noise nuisance was not always commensurate with the size of the installation.

William Powell AM, chair of the Petitions Committee, said: “We were told that some people no longer enjoyed being outside in their own gardens, others were afraid that their homes would be devalued and some had sleep problems leading to mental and physical health issues.

“The health and wellbeing of people living in Wales is a top priority and it is vital that residents living close to wind turbines are protected.

“The Committee recognises the importance of securing green energy sources to meet our energy needs in the future, however, this should not be done at the expense of people’s health.”

The Committee held a consultation on the issue and, as a result of receiving a large number of consultation responses from the village of Gwyddgrug in Carmarthenshire, visited two windfarms in the area.

The Committee said it had received an “overwhelming” number of responses from people who claimed that noise from wind turbines affected their sleep and disrupted their everyday lives.

A spokeswoman for the committee said: “The Committee welcomes the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s consideration of the wider issue of energy policy in Wales and looks forward to that Committee’s report on the issue, which will be published soon.”