A packed Fairlie Village Hall listened to noise experts provide a presentation on the impact of low frequency sound from turbines.
Speakers John Dr Yelland and Martin Grosvenor are members of the Independent Noise Working Group who have spoken and advised directly to the UK Government.
SSE have made a planning application for the turbine site at Hunterston to be extended by two years, but there have been a number of reports of dizziness and nausea in the local area. A decision by NAC has been delayed till June to allow for more monitoring following a Fairlie Community Council objection, which included evidence submitted by Dr Yelland who said that the application didn’t have a valid noise impact assessment, describing it as ‘flawed’.
Asked for a show of hands at the start of the meeting of how many had experienced such symptoms in the local area since the turbines started turning, around 20 put up their hands.
Dr Yelland stated that the noise measurements which featured in the recent planning application, which were just within limits, related to 2011 tests when Clydeport terminal was fully operating, and the situation has now changed.
He said: “Background noise is defined as a decent average when there is no other extraneous events – it is what’s left when the permanent noises have gone away. They (SSE) were so close to the planning legal limit in 2011 with the background noise, we now know the new background measures will be quieter. I have no criticism with those 2011 measurements at all – but they are now irrelevant.
“The background noise survey and noise impact assessment was accurate, and it was loud because of the decommissioning of Hunterston, and there were regular coal deliveries to Longannet, so it is now very quiet, and the Hunterston terminal is now completely silent, so any predictions of noise background could be 13dB above now which is far too loud.
“SSE are trying to prolong the consent of the wind farm without submitting a valid noise assessment impact but SSE have agreed to another noise impact assessment survey in collaboration with ourselves so I can see that no mistakes are made when the data is gathered, and that should really kill the project stone dead.”
As well as background noise, Dr Yelland stated that there were also issues with measurements of noise power emitted by turbines, and attenuation – using a graphic of a three legged stool to illustrate the problem, and said it failed on all three counts, as each leg was pulled from the stool.
Regarding health matters, Fairlie community council chairman Rita Holmes said: “To date, seven of us have put complaints into doctors, but seven does not constitute a significantly high number so people need to tell and register their complaint with the GP, or nothing will be done by NHS Ayrshire and Arran.
An SSE spokesperson said: “As a responsible developer and operator of renewable energy SSE takes any concerns or complaints from members of the communities close to our projects very seriously. Last year SSE carried out low frequency noise monitoring at a residential property in the area. The findings showed there was no significant low frequency noise from the turbine at the resident’s property, and levels measured would not be expected to cause disturbance.
“We are currently arranging additional noise monitoring. A consultant has been appointed to re-measure the background noise at the site and operational noise testing for the Mitsubishi turbine will also be undertaken, we ha [article ends]