Guy Glencross hates the sight and sound of his new ‘neighbour’ – a 20-metre wind turbine, 90 metres from the front door of his rural Co Tyrone home.
Night and day, he claims, the two-blade “monstrosity” assails his ears and eyes – and those of his partner Julie – so much so that they moved from their former front bedroom to the smaller one at the back when the turbine was erected in September.
Guy, 48, who lives at Kildress between Cookstown and Omagh, said: “The prevailing wind directs the loud, continuous whine in our direction. It’s the first sight that greets us in the morning. We’ve asked Cookstown District Council to deal with it. An environmental officer assessed the noise at 42 decibels. Apparently that’s above the noise recommended by the World Health Organisation.
“It’s at the top of a hill, dominating the view from the front of the house. We had no joy from the council or the planners, so I’m calling in my MLAs. Nobody should have to put up with this.”
He is supported by NI Wind Watch, whose officials have criticised the planners’ attitude of “driving a horse and cart through people’s feelings”.
Chairman Dan Kane said: “Sadly, this is happening all over Northern Ireland, and Environment Minister Alex Attwood simply isn’t listening.
“If this turbine was part of a wind farm, the recommended distance would be 500 metres from Guy’s house, but that doesn’t apply to single turbines. The World Health Organisation states that 38 decibels is the recommended optimum noise level. Guy’s life and that of his partner should not be disrupted in this way – as are the lives of so many, with 1,500 turbines planned for Northern Ireland.”
The 20kw turbine, owned by neighbour Peter McNally, has the required planning permission.
Mr McNally said he did not wish to comment, except to confirm that the turbine was his.
A spokesman for Mr Attwood said that he saw wind turbines as possibly Northern Ireland’s biggest economic opportunity and could lead to self-sufficiency in electricity, “creating many jobs and adding to the green and clean appeal of the Province, not least for tourist potential”.
He added that the planning system was exhaustive to ensure that applications were properly assessed.
A statement from Cookstown District Council said that planning matters were up to the Planning Service. It added: “Our environmental health department is currently investigating Mr Glencross’s complaint of noise disturbance, using the technical assessment methodology, contained within government guidance on ‘the assessment and rating of noise from wind farms’.
“It is hoped to have this assessment concluded as soon as possible. It will then be reported to the council for their consideration.”
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