The lives of Chris Heatley-Mulhall, his partner Deirdre and their children have been made a misery since giant wind turbines were erected beside their “wee green cottage” last year.
Located just 500m from their rural home near Ardara, Co Donegal, the five turbines stretch 100m into the sky when the blades are at full tilt – just 20m shorter than the Dublin Spire.
Constant whooshing noises and light flickerings have seriously affected the family’s formerly idyllic lifestyle in the countryside.
“Honestly they have made our lives a misery,” Chris told the Irish Independent.
The family are even forced to have their radio on day and night to drown out the noise.
“It is a kind of whooshing sound, very rhythmic and very industrial. If you leave a window open you can hear it all the time,” he adds.
“All we can do is to make a greater sound to drown it out, such as putting on the radio, but it’s impossible to live that way.”
The family are also seriously affected by shadow flicker – the flickering light patterns caused by the rotor blades turning in front of the sun.
Chris says: “When the light shines into a room, there is a shadow and a constant light flickering. And you still get the flicker when the curtains are pulled.”
Dr Michael Cooke, a local GP in Glenties, Co Donegal, where wind farms are planned, points to an editorial in the ‘British Medical Journal’ in which a sleep disorder consultant highlighted health issues associated with turbines.
The noise emitted can cause nausea, headaches, disturbed sleep and cognitive and psychological impairment, it said.
On their visual impact, Irish Wind Energy Truth Alliance spokesman Peter Crossan, said: “They are gaudy and look very out of place in rural landscapes. Locals and visitors alike do not appreciate the loss of landscape character.”
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