Councillors during Monday evening’s meeting of Birr Municipal District (Co Offaly) said the noise of a wind turbine in Meenwaun Wind Farm near Banagher is “completely unacceptable.”
Councillor John Leahy said he visited the site recently. He pointed out that there are four wind turbines in the wind farm which are 169 metres in height. He said there are three houses in the vicinity, with five residents, which are badly affected by noise pollution from one turbine in particular. Prior to 2011, turbines only had to be 500 metres from the nearest house. Now they have to be 700 metres. In Meewaun the nearest turbine is only 500 metres from then earest house.
Cllr Leahy said the noise of the turbine is “horrendous” for the three houses. “It is like living beside a helicopter pad,” he remarked. “It’s a constant noise throughout the day. It’s been like that for the last six weeks.”
The councillor said he believes the only solution is for the turbine to be switched off. “I don’t think the company, Meenwaun Wind Farm Ltd, can do anything which will make the situation acceptable apart from turn it off, or relocate it.”
He said he would like the Council to write a letter to Meenwaun asking them to turn the turbine off. “I believe it is in breach of the planning guidelines, which state that noise pollution is unacceptable.”
The councillor said he has very deep sympathy for the residents suffering from this noise pollution and he promised to raise the matter at every future monthly meeting of Birr Municipal District until the matter is resolved. “I wouldn’t want to live beside one of these wind turbines, nor I suspect would most people. It is a disgraceful situation.”
Cllr Peter Ormond, Chairman of Birr MD, said he visited the wind farm as well and he fully concurred with Cllr Leahy’s remarks. “I wrote to the CEO of Meenwaun Ltd in December,” he said, “and I received no reply.
“The noise is an infringement of the rights of the people living there. They are entitled to live in a quiet environment. We need to do what we can to ensure that happens. We need to do our best to protect them.
“When you are in the houses the red light on the turbine is also a significant irritant.
“The company says they haven’t breached any planning guidelines. I don’t think that is true.”
Cllr John Carroll endorsed the other councillors’ comments. He said he has a motion before the next meeting of the County Council about the issue. “This issue needs to be adequately monitored. At the moment the wind farm company is self-monitoring and that is not acceptable. It needs an outside monitor as well.”
Cllr Eamon Dooley said the Council needs to have its brief fully up to speed before it leaps into the breach.
“It is not acceptable in this day and age,” commented Cllr Leahy, “to expect people to live beside noise pollution like this.”
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