Couple’s dream life is now a living nightmare after power giant built wind farm opposite their home
When John and Kay Siddell acquired their smallholding 25 years ago, they were seeking a peaceful life surrounded by rolling green hills.
The couple bought High Tralorg Farm, a few miles from Girvan, Ayrshire, in 1988 – and enjoyed years of tranquillity.
But in 2006, their dream life started to become a living nightmare when Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) was given the go-ahead to erect a wind farm opposite their property.
Today, no fewer than 52 turbines close to their home have driven the couple to despair – and left their property ‘worthless’.
Civil engineer Mr Siddell, 63, and his 68-year- old retired civil servant wife, originally from Winchester, Hampshire, remain embroiled in an endless battle to have the turbines – which have 260ft diameter blades – removed and to prevent more wind farms being built in the area.
The turbines have had such an impact on Mrs Siddell, who is recovering from breast cancer, that she is forced to sit in the toilet at the rear of the cottage for hours to escape the noise and shadow flickering.
Her husband said: ‘We had 18 great years here, it was just what we wanted. Then the wind farm appeared. You can’t look out of the window without feeling queasy because of the flickering. The noise is horrendous. It sounds like a plane is coming towards you, but it never gets there. We’re living with a constant roar.
‘We only have windows on one side of the house and that is where the turbines are.’
The Siddells had no say when the Hadyard Hill wind farm was erected, as SSE was able to proceed via the Electricity Act (1989). Mr Siddell said: ‘We can’t find anyone to value the property. They take one look at the wind farm and make excuses. We have applied for a reduction in council tax banding, but nobody has been to visit.
‘We are also waiting for the results of a noise study by SSE. One of the turbines is only 742 metres from our property – in breach of the suggested 2km limit.
‘We are now investigating taking our case to the Court of Session to have the turbines removed from our view.’
The couple are also fighting to prevent two further wind farms, Tralorg Hill and Assel Valle, from being built.
Mr Siddell said: ‘The closest turbine will be 900 metres from us. If these applications go through, three-quarters of our horizon will be obscured by wind turbines.
‘The legislators are bound by the edict from Alex Salmond, who has directed that Scotland should be producing 100 per cent renewable power by 2020. Renewable energy is a broken-backed horse. These turbines don’t produce enough electricity to keep the country going. I see no reason for covering most of Scotland in them.’
Mrs Siddell said: ‘We feel like virtual prisoners serving a life sentence. The most stressful thing is that we have no control over our lives. We don’t have any hope.’
The Siddells’ battle has been supported by Conservative MEP and prominent anti-wind farm campaigner Struan Stevenson.
He said: ‘When I saw the conditions they were forced to live in, I was shocked. Their health has been affected and their property is now worthless.
‘The shameful thing is they have never been offered compensation. It’s a scandal, but symbolic of how the big energy companies treat people in their quest for profit.’
An SSE spokesman said: ‘Hadyard Hill wind farm, which was commissioned in 2006, complies with current planning guidance regarding siting of wind farms near settlements or individual dwellings.
‘Following Mrs Siddell’s complaint regarding the operational noise of the wind farm, SSE has been working with South Ayrshire Council to assess noise levels.
‘Results of a detailed six month investigation are being analysed and will be shared with both the council and residents shortly.’
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