North Devon Council will this week decide whether or not to pay £100 to a man who complained about noise nuisance from a wind turbine near his house.
A complaint had been made to the Local Government Ombudsman by a man, whose details have not been released, claiming the council did not take “prompt and appropriate action” to address noise nuisance caused by a wind farm close to his home.
The man claimed he was caused “avoidable disturbance” and that his health was adversely affected as a result of the council’s inaction.
The Ombudsman did not agree with the complaint, saying the council had effectively dealt with negotiations with the wind farm operator to achieve a “positive outcome for all local residents”.
It said the council had:
• Been at fault when it decided to install monitoring equipment inside the complainant’s house, which was not appropriate. The Ombudsman said this implied the council was looking at noise disturbance in terms of a potential statutory nuisance which it was not. The Ombudsman believed this “unnecessarily raised the complainant’s expectations” of what the council would do.
• Been at fault when it lost the data collected during the monitoring at the complainant’s home. The council recognised in its report to the Ombudsman that losing the data caused the complainant a great deal of avoidable frustration (however explained how it would not have had any impact on how it dealt with the case).
• The Ombudsman said the loss of data caused the complainant to “waste avoidable time and effort pursuing the council about it and this was an avoidable injustice”.
The complaint is due to be discussed at a meeting of the council’s ethics committee tomorrow night (Wednesday).
The Ombudsman has recommended that the council apologises to the man in question, pays him £100 and put procedures in place to avoid the problems being repeated.
Members of the committee will have to decide whether to accept the recommendations or reject them and possibly incur an Ombudsman report criticising the council.
Check the Journal website for the outcome of the meeting.
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