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‘Noise battle’ wind turbine construction begins

Work has begun on a controversial wind farm project on Dartmoor.

On-site preparations to create the 120m (390ft) high nine-turbine Den Brook wind farm between North Tawton and Bow are currently under way.

The work has been criticised by campaigners who have been locked in a decade long legal wrangle about the wind farm.

Campaigner Mike Hulme said: “The industrialisation of the Den Brook valley has begun.”

The project has been subject to a long running battle which ended at the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

The Den Brook Judicial Review Group which led the battle against the development said it is now set to record ‘24/7’ the low-frequency “wind-shear” noise from the giant blades to prove that the noise is too intrusive.

Mr Hulme, speaking on behalf of the Den Brook Community Liaison Group, UK Independent Noise Working Group and the

Den Brook Judicial Review Group, said: “And so ends the peace and tranquillity much treasured, appreciated and enjoyed in the neighbourhood of the turbines.”

He said the judicial review group will establish independent 24/7 noise monitoring to assess noise impacts.

He added: “Our legal advisors also recommend all those neighbouring the Den Brook wind farm take out maximum legal insurance cover in case actions become necessary to counter prejudicial, unreasonable and unwarranted noise intrusion from the wind farm development.”

The Court of Appeal judge ruled earlier this year that nothing could be gained from further legal proceedings regarding the way in which the planning authority at West Devon Borough Council had discharged its obligations regarding the noise condition at Den Brook Wind Farm.

The turbine project by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) will be able to generate enough renewable electricity to meet the average annual requirements of almost 9,000 homes.

Initial works include completion of the access tracks, followed by foundation-laying.

Turbine installation is scheduled for summer 2016 and a period of testing and commissioning will then follow.

It is expected that the farm will be completed and generating renewable electricity before the end of next year.

The scheme is also set to deliver £90,000 per year in community benefits over its lifetime, including a Community Fund to support local projects and RES’ Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS), offering eligible properties within 2.3km of the turbines a £108 annual discount off their electricity bills.

The first few months of on-site preparations at Den Brook Wind Farm will run in parallel with the construction of a new link road at Whiddon Down.

Rob Kemeys, RES Project Manager, said: “The Whiddon Down road improvement works will include temporary traffic lights to ensure the safety of road users and our workers. There will also be a brief closure of the A3124 towards the end of the works to enable the new link road to be joined to the existing road. We will share more information about timings wherever possible as the road improvements progress.”

The new road aims to improve the junction between the A382 and the A3124. Work here is expected to begin on October 5, with completion by Christmas.

RES said that there are employment opportunities from general labouring to materials supplies and electrical works. There are also opportunities for people with rooms or accommodation to let.

Updates about construction progress and traffic management will be posted on the project website at www.den-brook.co.uk.