Councillors are hoping they have found a solution to a noisy wind turbine at Batsworthy Cross.
The operator of the wind farm, which stands alongside the North Devon Link Road near Rose Ash, has proposed a strategy to mitigate the noise.
Andy Cole, at North Devon Council’s environmental protection team, told councillors at April’s strategy and resources committee: “Noise monitoring has previously confirmed compliance with the noise-related planning conditions at five of the six agreed monitoring locations.
“There remains a small 1.5dB exceedance of the noise limits in a sixth location at the windspeed of seven metres per second.
“The operator has submitted a proposed strategy which they believe will address this exceedance.
“Those proposals have been scrutinised by officers and the council’s acoustic advisor, and additional calculations have been undertaken based on noise measurement data that had previously been gathered throughout previous monitoring exercises.
“These calculations confirm that the proposed strategy put forward by the operator would result in compliance being achieved at the location in question with a further side effect with a further reduction of up to 2dB at lower wind speeds at other dwellings as well.
“Officers are satisfied that implementation of the mitigation strategy will result in compliance with the planning conditions; we intend to communicate this with the operator now, asking them to implement it without delay.
“This is a decision delegated to officers, but we seek endorsement from the committee for this action.”
Speaking about the exceedance at one turbine, he added: “The level of 1.5dB would not be perceptible to the human ear, and it only occurs at wind speed.
“Not only would be it unreasonable to request the operator to undertake monitoring to verify the outcome of any mitigation, but it’s also unnecessary.
“The levels they would try to measure are so close to background wind speeds that any measurements taken would have such a high level of uncertainty attached to it. It would not result in any higher level of certainty of the effects of the mitigation being achieved.
“The council has previously advised it is committed to this higher level of environmental protection as is possible for the community.
“Notwithstanding the relatively small exceedance that still remains, officers have secured the operator’s cooperation to implement this strategy.
“We are reaching a stage where we can say with confidence that planning conditions are going to be complied with.”
However, Jane Faust, a member of the Two Moors Campaign group, which objected to the original plans for the wind farm, said: “The government planning inspector requires compliance.
“It isn’t about suggested compliance or whether officers are satisfied that the mitigation results in compliance; compliance is binary.
“It’s either compliant with its noise levels, or it is not.
“The operator has made arrangements with the owner of the measurement location to take new measurements.
“The ward councillors and three impacted parish councils and community all want those new measurements taken.
“How would Mr Cole react if his garage said, some but not all of the work needed to fix car brakes has been done, so that’ll have to do, and it was not necessary or reasonable to test whether the car brakes work.
“Critically, we have not been told on any legal counsel taken on this matter, certainly unsubstantiated statements do not constitute justification for not enforcing the planning conditions.
“The operator’s noise reductions are less than the noise exceedance, so they’re unlikely to have addressed the issue.
“It doesn’t look like the reductions are going to fix the exceedances.”
She added: “We keep being told is that compliance has been found at other locations at the site. It hasn’t.
“The officers haven’t done their job properly have speculated on compliance, and that’s not what the planning conditions require.
“This is people’s homes and lives for the next twenty years, and it’s not enough to sweep everything under the carpet.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding