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Residents face moving decision 

Credit:  Friday, 5th July, 2024 · The Shetland Times · BY CHLOE IRVINE ~~

People living nearby Viking Energy Windfarm are leaving their homes after comparing the sound of the turbines to a motorway. Vincent Tonner who has lived in North Nesting for the last 12 years is “probably as close” as you can get to the windfarm.

He has contended with the construction phase of the windfarm, but plans to move out of his home as a result of the noise pollution.

“We’re going to move, we’ve decided we can’t put up with it – and we’ve put up with a lot with the construction of it,” he said.

“I’ve spent 12 years making this really nice garden, it’s such a shame to throw that all away. we’ve built our whole life here.”

Mr Tonner said two different sounds came from the windfarm, which he could hear all the time to varying degrees.

“You’ve got the whoosing of the blades going around. Then you’ve got this low frequency humming noise of the machinery,” he said.

“We have an open fire in our sitting room, so you can hear it coming down the lum and you can hear it through th eextractor fan in the bathroom.

Badly

“You can hear those two noises all of the time. But when the wind is heading towards the house you hear it badly.”

Though consultants have been selected to monitor the windfarm noise, Mr Tonner felt this was simply a “paperwork exercise that doesn’t actually mean anything”.

Mr Tonner, originally from Yell, was also deeply concerned for the future of his home-island which is set to host the Energy Isles windfarm west of Cullivoe.

“If I didn’t already have a business established here I probably would move out of Shetland,” he said.

Mr Tonner hoped speaking out about his experience living alongside a windfarm would help raise awareness for those affected in Yell.

“I’m very much trying to get folk in Yell to wake up and realise the destruction that’s coming their way, a lot of folk don’t see it for what it is.

“There’s a lot more to it than just sticking windmills on top of the hill. It’ll ruin the place forever.”

He added: “Words really can’t express how much it depresses me to see this happening.”

Irksome

Marvin Hutchison, who was born, raised and currently lives in Voe, believes the sound coming from the turbines is too “irksome” to tolerate.

“I mind biding in Edinburgh for a while and you could hear the traffic, and the turbines make that exact same noise,” he said.

“It sounds just like a motorway a steady rumble which sets every hair on end.

“Nobody knew what it was going to sound like until it started, and it’s god-damnable, hateful.”

Though his family have been situated in Voe for generations, Mr Hutchison was not convinced he ‘would be able to continue living there.

“I’m born and brought up in Voe. It’s my home and it’s been the family home for a number of generations.

“But after hearing yun noise my reaction was, ‘I’m going to have to go’. I’m nearly 60 now and 1’m mo caring to hear that for the rest of my days.”

Mr Hutchison said his concern was not only with turbine noise, but also their environmental impact.

“If it’s all in the name of saving the planet then you’d think they’d try and look after the bits that’s left, but they’ve done the exact opposite.

“lt’s no just the noise pollution, it’s what they’ve done to the place, the whole of the core of Shetland has been riven apart.”

He also dismissed claims that peat at the windfarm site was degraded, stressing broken sections of hill had always been present.

“There’s always been broken hill, it’s how the hill works it stretches and moves,” he said.

“Names go back to that [process] from Norse, that’s how old it is and how the hill works. It’s nature.”

He added the only thing the windfarm had created for Shetland was “division and hatred”.

Mandy Sutherland shared a video online of ber horses alongside the turbines at Catfirth – sparking widespread concerns over noise pollution and its impact on both humans and animals living in the area.

Mrs Sutherland told The Shetland Times she has lived in Catfirth for the “brucks of 30 years”.

However, she has been left deeply dispirited by the sound she is now being “forced” to endure. “It’s sad to hear this after the beautifu1, quiet here.

“We’re going to have to get used to constant noise,” she said.

Heartbreaking

“It’s heartbreaking to have this forced on us.”

Sustainable Shetland’s Frank Hay said a small turbine was recently erected near his home which some days sounds like an “outboard motor” – a sound he fears is similar to that of the Viking Energy Windfarm.

Mr Hay felt particularly concerned that noise was already an “issue” when the windfarm was not even fully operational yet.

He said noise monitoring should have been carried out at a much earlier stage and expressed apprehension over Viking paying for it.

“Viking have four noise monitoring stations due to be installed. Planning permission was granted for these at the end of May. These should have been installed before any turbines became operational.

“We are not too sure that monitoring paid for by Viking can be completely independent,” he added.

SIC leader and Shetland North

councillor Emma Macdonald said whether someone lives alongside the windfarm or not is a matter of personal choice.

“Choosing to move is a very personal choice and something I’m sure people have given an awful lot of thought. “I can see them from my house in Voe. I knew once planning was given it wasn’t something I had control over.

“People might make choices about living with it and people might make changes not to. I won’t be moving anytime soon.”

Ms Macdonald stressed she is aware this has been a “traumatic time” for some people but this is not a matter she had any say over.

“When l came on to the council it was already a done thing, it was never in our gift to stop it happening.

“For me, I’ve just had to accept that is my view now and [looking out] from my garden is very different, but I’m not that close that I can hear them.”

She added: “I do understand it must be very difficult for people who are having to make difficult decisions.”

Shetland Central councillor Ian Scott said the SIC should be “ashamed” of itself for failing to take a stand against the windfarm.

“When I first became a councillor l asked what the minimum distance was from a dwelling house to a windmill and there’s no minimum distance,”he recalled.

Mr Scott expressed his sympathies towards those struggling with the noise coming from the windfarm.

“I feel sorry for the folk living in the area.

“It’s not right, people shouldn’t be forced to exist that way,” he said.

He also criticised upcoming windfarm projects in Yell which he felt will only financially benefit a small number of people.

“Very shortly Yell is going to be turned into an industrial desert.

“We thought Shetland was so proud of its environment and beauty, but that’s all getting destroyed for the sake of a few quid for two or three people.”

Mr Scott added that he does not think appointing noise consultants for the Viking Energy Windfarm will make “any difference whatsoever”.

The SIC said they had not received any requests for noise issues to be assessed.

In a statement the council said: “The decision letter from Scottish Ministers, dated 24 May 2019, contains a number of planning conditions relating to the Viking Energy Wind Farm, including Section 41 – ‘Noise’.”

It added: “Under these planning conditions, the developer is responsible for arranging an independent assessment of compliance with threshold noise levels at any complainant’s property.

“The mechanism for arranging this assessment is to make a request to the planning service, Shetland Islands Council, who will then make the request of the developer, who must provide this assessment within two months. To date, Shetland Islands Council has not yet received any such requests.”

Robust

SSE urged those concerned about noise from the windfarm to get in touch.

“We operate robust control measures to ensure all wind turbines at our sites operate to industry standards and in conditions as determined by plann ing conditions,” the energy giant said in a statement.

“As a responsible neighbour, we would encourage anyone with concerns about noise interference to contact us directly so we can undertake a rigorous assessment against planning conditions.

“Where any interference is determined we will take the appropriate remedial steps to ensure turbines operate within the required threshold conditions.” Members of the public can contact Viking Energy Windfarm by emailing Vikingwindfarm@sse.com

Consultants are to monitor noise coming from Viking Energy Windfarm.

SSE Renewables announced last week it was providing four independent acoustic consultants in accordance with its planning consent.

As reported in last week’s Shetland Times, these consultants will determine whether the noise coming from these 103 turbines exceeds approved limits.

The energy giant said the consultants would be commissioned to undertake noise measurement surveys in the event of a reported issue.

Source:  Friday, 5th July, 2024 · The Shetland Times · BY CHLOE IRVINE

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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