Kay and John Siddell had “18 great years” in their retirement home in the hills before the turbines began to appear.
They bought the smallholding in South Ayrshire in 1988 because of the uninterrupted views across the valley and moved north from Hampshire to enjoy rural solitude and a self-sufficient lifestyle.
But instead of rolling countryside, their home now faces around 30 wind turbines, and even on the sunniest days they sit in their living room with the curtains closed to block out the blades.
They say they suffer from the effects of the “churning landscape” and the “incessant flicker” when the sun is behind the turbines, and describe the noise in a high wind as something like a “squadron of jets”.
They are also fighting two more wind farm applications that, if approved, would leave their property almost surrounded.
Mrs Siddell, 69, who has had serious health problems in recent years, describes the Hadyard Hill wind farm they face as a “nightmare”, and sometimes retreats to the lavatory to escape its effects.
Ironically, the couple were told years ago in an informal approach to the local council that they would not receive permission for an extra floor on their cottage, because of the impact on the “scenic area”.
According to Struan Stevenson, the Conservative MEP, the Siddells are not alone, and the Scottish Government’s drive for more wind farms is “blighting” lives across the country. He wants a review of the planning laws that allow developers to erect turbines so close to homes.
The nearest turbine is around 700m (765yds) from High Tralorg, the couple’s house in the hills above the village of Old Dailly, while planning guidelines recommend a minimum distance of 2km (1.24 miles). The figure is often ignored.
Mr Stevenson told The Daily Telegraph: “Kay and John have had their lives wrecked. When I visited High Tralorg, even although was only a moderate wind blowing the noise of the vast forest of turbines was endless and alarming, almost like the sound of high-flying jets.
“The value of their home has collapsed and to add insult to injury new planning applications have been lodged to erect another 19 giant turbines on the side of the Siddell’s home where there are presently none.“
Mr Siddell, 63, a “partially retired” civil engineer who spent 25 years in the Royal Engineers, and his wife, a former civil servant, have become unwitting experts on wind power since the 52-turbine development went up in 2006, and accuse Alex Salmond of causing “huge damage” to Scotland’s countryside.
They believe their home is now virtually worthless, but are reluctant to leave, as they fear they would be letting down other objectors.
To the first time visitor on a calm day in June, the turbines are not immediately oppressive, although the sound can still be heard from the front door.
Mrs Siddell is aware that “people can come for ten minutes, and say it is not so bad”. She added: “But there is nowhere to hide. Most of our windows face the wind farm.
“The noise is what gets me, and the turbines are always at different angles. Wash up at the sink, look at the turbines, lie in bed, look at the turbines. We have had so much of South Ayrshire destroyed by these monsters.”
They have measured the noise, and believe it is regularly around 75 decibels – similar to a vacuum cleaner – while at 85 decibels employers are required to provide ear protection. They are currently waiting to hear from SSE on its measurements.
She believes her ill health, which includes treatment for breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, has been affected by the wind farm and the stress it causes.
Her husband’s main objection is the “sheer inefficiency” of subsidy-dependent turbines that he claims are idle for up to 30 per cent of the time, and which have to be built with the use of thousands of tonnes of concrete and at the expense of roads bulldozed into the hills.
The couple are among more than 10,000 Scots who have written to the SNP objecting to turbines affecting their homes, according to Mr Stevenson.
He said: “Alex Salmond’s manic fixation to re-industrialise Scotland and turn us into the Saudi Arabia of renewables cannot be allowed to bludgeon Kay and John Siddell and tens of thousands of other Scots into submission.”
He hopes a new EU directive on the assessment of public and private projects on the environment will change the way that environmental impact assessments operate, and ensure that consultants are independent and that comments from the public are “demonstrably taken into account”.
A spokesman for SSE said it had undertaken an “exhaustive” six month investigative noise survey at Hadyard Hill wind farm in order to identify if there was a noise issue
He added: “The results of this investigation are still under final analysis and SSE has also involved the wind turbine manufacturer in this process. If the analysis demonstrates that there is a noise issue, then SSE will identify and implement remedial measures.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding