A wind turbine operator has been fined tens of thousands of pounds after one of its wind turbines made too much noise.
Magistrates imposed a total of £51,000 in fines after Kirklees Council prosecuted the operator for noise pollution following ongoing complaints from those living close to the turbine at Cote Farm, Hade Edge.
They took court action against the turbine operator, Windvest Limited, and its director Dean Staveley of Thurstonland.
The judge found the company and its director guilty of breaking the law on eight occasions.
As a result the company was fined a total of £20,000 and Dean Staveley was fined £16,000. They were ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “The investigation has been long and complex and council officers have tried to work with the turbine operator, Windvest Limited, and its director Dean Staveley of Thurstonland, to resolve the situation without resorting to formal action.
“However, after some maintenance and repair work had been carried out on the turbine the noise pollution continued. The council gathered evidence that the noise levels generated by the turbines was above accepted levels – which were causing real distress to the residents living near the turbine who could hear them from within their homes.”
The council took the company and its director to court and the case was heard at Kirklees Magistrates Court.
At court the council presented eight specimen examples of the noise pollution which demonstrated continued offending over the period of time the case had been under investigation.
The complainants gave evidence about how the noise from the turbine had affected their lives, preventing them from sleeping, using their gardens and causing real distress and anxiety.
Council officers also gave professional evidence on how the noise was a breach of the law, as well as detailing the steps they had tried to help the operator.
The council spokesperson added: “It is hoped that the severity of the fine will prevent Windvest from turning the turbine back on. However, if they do the council will look to take further action which could include a High Court Injunction.”
Councillor Naheed Mather, cabinet member for enforcement said: “I want to thank our environmental health department for the hard work and dedication they have put into this investigation. I believe that cases of this nature are very rare and by successfully prosecuting the offenders it sends a clear message to similar companies that, we will not accept the operation of equipment that causes unnecessary distress to those living in its shadow.
“We live in a country where we need to make the most of our natural resources to find alternative sources of power, but this needs to be done in an appropriate and legal manner.”