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Measures may be taken on noisy North Devon wind farm

Measures may be taken on a wind farm, making too much noise.

North Devon District Council has reported how turbines near the Birchwood House area at the Batsworthy Cross Wind Farm near Knowstone was exceeded the agreed 40dB agreed night noise limit by 1.5dB at a wind speed of seven m/s at 10m. It complies with the limits at other wind speeds.

Andy Cole, the council’s environmental protection officer, explained at a meeting on February 1 said five out of the six monitoring locations at the wind farm had been compliant with planning conditions.

He said: “The operator has submitted information to the council suggesting that compliance is achieved. This was made based on further analysis and calculations, which is underpinned by the monitoring data previously obtained through extensive monitoring exercises that have been undertaken.

“Our acoustic consultant and as well as ourselves, have reviewed this data. It was suggested that we would need to ask for additional information on the data that’s being submitted to enable us to further review the position that’s being presented or require the operator to do additional noise monitoring to confirm the position that’s being presented.”

He said that after discussions with residents in November, they were keen on more monitoring to gain great clarity and detail.

“Since that decision having been made in November, there’s been a certain amount of toing and froing between the operator and us to clarify certain technical aspects of the data submitted.

“I can confirm that the having now done that, we have all the information we need to review and scrutinise that position and determine what the next recommended steps might be.

“We are in the process of running our own calculations to see if we agree with the outcome that’s presented to us by the operator.”

Councillor Jeremy Yabsley (Witheridge, Conservative) thanked officers for their efforts to ensure communities do not suffer exceedances.

“I’ll continue to ensure that we end up with a with a development that is compliant,” he said. “We will be assisting with that as best we can,”

Cllr Yabsley called for a buffer between the compliance and recorded noise levels.

“They are squeezing as much output as possible from running their noise levels as high as a dare, and so there is not much comfort for the community,” he said.

Councillor Eric Ley (Bishops Nympton, Independent) said the issue should have been “put to bed” by now.

“It’s no surprise that the outstanding site here is one that is downwind from the turbines.

“From day one that was always going to be the most vulnerable spot.

“It’s taken ages for this to be realised.”

Chief executive of the council, Ken Miles said that if the council were to undertake further monitoring, it would take longer to conclude.

“It could take many months to complete,” he said. “If we were able to get some further information from the operator, it might well be that we could conclude that compliance had been arrived at through other means.

“That seemed to be a quicker solution for the residents and a quicker solution for everybody.”

The council will report back in March regarding the latest steps to deal with the issue.