North Devon Council has spent nearly £60,000 investigating the legality of Fullabrook Wind Farm, it has been revealed.
During a meeting of the district council’s executive committee, Councillor Rodney Cann told members work to monitor the site’s sound levels had cost the council £30,000 over the past three years.
Since it was completed in 2012, council officers have also spent an estimated £30,000 worth of hours investigating the site.
The investigations were launched after the wind farm repeatedly breached noise restrictions which were imposed after the project was approved at appeal.
Mr Cann said while the latest inspections showed the site was now complying with restrictions, it had come at a significant cost.
Speaking during Tuesday’s meeting, he said: “In 2014 they weren’t complying with the conditions. We are the people who get kicked for this even though we opposed it. After a considerable amount of work I am advised it is now compliant with the conditions imposed.
“It is all very well for an inspector to say go ahead, but in officer time and in resources it has been expensive. It has cost us around £60,000.
In January 2015, wind farm operators ESBI undertook work in a bid to address the noise issues, which have seen the turbine restricted in certain weather.
However, Mr Cann said it had been a “long and painful process” to reach the point where the site was now compliant, with the council rejecting the plans in 2007 – only for the decision to be overturned at appeal.
“It did meet our worst fears, in fact it exceeded our worst fears,” he said. “We knew there would be potential issues with the visual impact and noise, but we never considered the financial impact it would have.
“It’s a sad story really that the inspector gave approval in the face of our very strong opposition.
“I think it has been a long, difficult and costly journey to arrive at this point when it should not have happened in the first place.”
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