Controversial plans to site a 49m high wind turbine in a village near Nantwich have been deferred because of health concerns.
Members of Cheshire East’s southern planning committee indicated today (Wednesday) they would have preferred to refuse the application to install the turbine at Ridley Bank Farm, Ridley.
But, when officers told them their objections would not stand up as valid reasons for refusal at a planning appeal, they opted to defer the application saying they were unhappy with the information supplied and wanted to hear from a public health and an environmental health officer.
Cllr Janet Clowes (Con) said she understood experts’ reports on the health impacts of wind turbines differed and there was no consensus ‘but we know that low impact noises have an impact on health and the World Health Organisation actually states that very clearly’.
“We’re not talking about high levels of noise, we’re talking about noise nuisance,” said Cllr Clowes, after being told if the level reached 35db, neighbours could complain and action would be taken to rectify it.
“At the end of the day, noise makes a difference and that’s what we should be considering,” she said. “We should be inviting our public health officers to comment and give us an opinion, but we haven’t.”
Cllr Peter Groves (Con) said that residents who had spoken earlier in the meeting had indicated they would not object to a smaller turbine to generate enough electricity for the farm but this was, essentially, a power station in a field.
A representative of Stop Bickerton Wind Turbines had told the committee the gigantic industrial machine would dominate the landscape.
“The swept area of the blades is one fifth of an acre and the tip speed of the blades is well over 100 miles an hour,” he said.
Cllr Groves said: “We have a duty of care to residents to approve things that are not going to lead to any risk to their health and to their quiet enjoyment of their property. “I would like, before I put my hand up to approve something, some certainty. I do not see certainty in this application.”
Committee chairman Gill Merry said she too was very concerned about noise impact.
“I’m not very happy that close neighbours would have to report the noise because how long would it take to rectify it, how many sleepless nights would there be in the meantime?” she said.
Earlier the committee had heard from ward councillor Stan Davies (Con) that more than 90% of residents were opposed to the turbine.
He said an environmental impact assessment should have been carried out to address some of the objections raised by residents, but this been denied by planning officers.
“From a legal point of view, we have a duty of care towards the residents and in my opinion this means not exposing them to potential risk of harm,” said Cllr Davies.
Cllr Roy Cartlidge (Socialist Ind) was also annoyed an ecology survey the committee had asked for when they first deferred the application in November of last year, had not been done.
Today’s application was deferred so committee members could hear more information from public health and environmental health officers and so an ecological survey could be done.
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