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Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm not being monitored for noise properly, say nearby residents

Residents near North Devon’s Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm say North Devon Council (NDC) has not adequately monitored noise coming from the site.

A special meeting of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee took place on Thursday to hear about a lack of progress in noise monitoring at the nine-turbine wind farm.

The development was rejected by the council in 2011, but the decision was overturned by a Government inspector the following year. Among the conditions was the completion of noise monitoring within six months of the site’s ‘first export’.

The site began production in April 2016, but the noise monitoring requirement is still unfinished.

Operator REG Power Management submitted its monitoring exercise to the council in March 2017 only for the council to ask for more work to be undertaken.

One Batsworthy resident said: “The site remains in breach of planning consent. There has been no progress since March 2017 when measurements stopped.

“We’re now two years on and the council still hasn’t secured sufficient measurements to reliably assess compliance.”

Andy Cole, the council’s environmental health lead, told the meeting noise monitoring had recommenced in October last year, and expected the process to be completed in ‘weeks, if not months’.

“The operators were initially reluctant to undertake additional monitoring so we had to escalate that. It’s now being undertaken.

“The council is satisfied the monitoring is being undertaken in accordance with planning conditions and the relevant legislation and guidance.”

Local member, Councillor Jeremy Yabsley, said he had sympathy for both the community at Batsworthy, and the council’s officers in trying to get the issues resolved, but felt response had been slow.

“The response to issues realise was not quick, and I think that has raised levels of disquiet in the community,” he said.

“It has caused an inability for members of the public close to the turbines to bring noise complaints, as we are unable to deal with them until the process has been completed.

“I hope we can bring this process to a positive conclusion in a short space of time.”

The committee moved for regular updates to be given to the council’s executive committee, which meets once a month.