Medical experts have told a Haunton resident he is ‘dying of agony’.
Steve Smith is suffering from an extraordinarily rare condition that causes him to experience sound as excruciating pain.
Anxiety also adds to the appalling symptoms for which he has to take continuous doses of morphine.
And now Mr. Smith is being crushed by the stress of knowing that his next door neighbour might soon turn his life into a living hell.
No one knows how many thousands of pounds un-elected MEP Phil Bennion will earn in public subsidies if planning consent is given to build four huge wind turbines on his land. He steadfastly refuses to say.
But what seems certain is that his neighbour will be within earshot of the noise they will be emitting 24 hours a day.
Even when the rhythmic sound made by these machines’ massive blades is barely audible, audiologists say it can ruin people’s sleep and cause anxiety and ill-health.
Anyone who has ever had to put up with even the quietest beat of modern music coming through the wall in the early hours from next door’s sound system will know what they mean.
And for Mr. Smith the very quiet of his peaceful rural home will make matters worse because there will not even be any background sound to mask the turbines’ rhythmic pulse.
But for him it will not just mean sleep loss, upset and anxiety it will mean searing and uncontrollable pain.
The former policeman suffered the injury that brought on his condition while pursuing a young fugitive.
The surgery it was hoped would cure him caused his body to begin spontaneously creating scar tissue.
Adhesive arachnoiditis is so called because it damages the arachnoid membrane that encases the spinal cord.
The formation of scar tissue gradually compresses the nerve roots and blocks the blood supply.
It causes sensory loss and leads to limb and other body functions failing.
There is no cure. The pain is not localised. It affects every part of the body.
A study in the U.S. revealed that 40 per cent of sufferers there eventually committed suicide.
For Mr. Smith the disease plays another cruel trick. When he closes his eyes he does not see blackness. Instead he sees a luminous green, making sleep illusive.
He fears the unceasing pulse of Mr. Bennion’s wind turbines will make it impossible for him to find proper rest.
Even strong and healthy people are reported as having had to abandon their homes, claiming the effects of nearby turbines had made them ill and their lives unbearable.
Mr. Smith does not have that option. He and his wife, Julie, have invested hugely in tailoring their Haunton home to his needs.
Moving is in any case well known to be among the most stressful things people ever have to do.
Mr. Smith now finds any prolonged effort or concentration agonising and utterly exhausting.
Mr. Bennion, earns more than £75,000 a year as an MEP, with an allowance package of more than £40,000 on top of that.
He also has the income from his farm in Haunton, as well as property rentals.
This is the second time he has tried to have a windfarm put on his land in partnership with the developers, Prowind.
Last time the MEP looked set to make around £80,000 a year from the deal.
Prowind says it has no objection at all to Mr. Bennion saying how much he stands to make this time around.
But even though his income will be heavily subsidised by the public, the MEP has refused to tell people how much he will be taking out of their pockets.
He also refused to say if he thought the money from his turbine cash-cow would be worth the appalling effect it could have on his next door neighbour.
Instead he appeared to pass the question on to Prowind’s representative.
Mr. Keith Brooks was jeered out of Harlaston Village Hall last December.
People were angry at his refusal to answers their questions.
As he left he was told to, “take your windmill with you.”
The meeting then voted 111-tonil against Prowind’s windfarm proposals.
Mr. Brooks said the question ‘VM’ put to Mr. Bennion about the worth of the money he looked set to make was, “insulting”, and, “unduly harsh”.
He added: “May I congratulate you (‘VM’) on taking bias to new heights.
“This extremely biased portrayal of our company is why we have not used your publication to promote the company (Prowind).
“There are those who would believe you are using this man’s (Mr. Smith’s) disability for your own agenda, to stop the (Bennion’s windfarm) development.
“This I feel would be personally insulting to him (Mr. Smith) unless he had agreed for his disability to reflected for this purpose.”
Mr. Smith clearly has a good reason for not wanting a windfarm built near him.
So too has the community of nuns who live in Haunton and who provide sanctuary, peace and recuperation for people in need.
It is also unlikely that the residents of a care home in the village would welcome the turbines.
There are also many elderly people living in the neighbourhood for whom the disturbance will be unwanted.
The hundreds of anti-windfarm campaigners from Clifton Campville, Haunton and Harlaston have also been joined by people from throughout the ‘VM’-area and beyond who are determined to stop Bennion’s development.
They believe that with dozens of landowners around the county now waiting in the wings to cash in on the easy riches to be had from putting turbines on their land, the proliferation of these machines must be halted.
Similar resistance movements are now emerging across the globe from Canada to Australia.
Campaigners are angry about the catastrophic effect they claim turbines have on the landscape and people’s health.
They also resent the huge cost taxpayers are having to bear through the massive public subsidies given to the developers.
There are also growing concerns about the technology’s effectiveness.
And there is growing anger at the wealthy landowners and politicians who they claim are cashing in at the expense of ordinary people.
Tory chairman of the supposedly unbiased Commons climate committee, Tim Yeo, reaps a total of £140,000 a year from the six ‘green’ companies in which holds directorships.
He launched a determined attack on Chancellor George Osborne to stop him cutting subsidies to windfarm developers.
Many people see Yeo’s different roles as presenting an outrageous conflict of interests.
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