Wind Turbines: Who is my Neighbour?

I recently received the following, from a legal up-date service called Law Now (www.law-now.com).  It is their up-date on the law on wind farms as it currently stands — I think it’s worth sharing.

The House of Lords is currently considering the Wind Turbines (Minimum Distances from Residential Premises) Bill, which relates to England & Wales.  The Bill was debated by the Lords on 10 June 2011, during which a wide-ranging discussion took place on issues including the effect of wind turbines on rural areas and meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets.  The Bill is set to go to committee for closer examination of its provisions, but a date for this has not yet been scheduled.

The Bill proposes to increase the distance required between residential areas and the site of a wind turbine.  At present, in England, there is no set legal distance, although planning policy noise limits suggest a separation of around 350 metres.  A quieter wind farm may well be allowed closer to residences under the current rules.

In Scotland and Wales, the guidelines encourage greater separation distances.  Scotland suggests a guideline distance of 2km, largely due to the visual effect of the turbines, and Wales 500m.  The current Bill recommends following the Scottish example in both England and Wales, and implementing a requirement for a larger gap between residential accommodation and turbines.  The proposed distances range from 1000 metres to 3000 metres, depending on the size of the wind turbine.

Separation distances are controversial.  Some argue that close proximity is essential, for example, where a small-scale array or single turbine serves a house or village not on or near a national grid connection.  However, many of those living in close proximity to wind farms are often convinced that they have a detrimental effect on both house values and health.  At present, compensation is not commonly awarded to those who reside near wind farms, despite these complaints.

Julian and Jane Davis are one example of a family who believe the location of a wind farm, 1,000 metres from their home, has damaged both their health and house value.  They are farmers in Lincolnshire and claim they were forced to leave their home after the constant low frequency noise from the wind farm disturbed their sleep and caused them to become ill.  Their counsel, Peter Harrison QC, claims that the effect was so severe that the farmhouse is unsellable as a family home.

The couple are currently litigating a compensation claim against the wind farm owners, builders and landowners, and seeking £380,000 compensation.  Additionally, they are seeking an injunction to restrict the operation of the wind farm.  That claim is currently being heard in the High Court.

Wind power is high on the agenda in both Scotland and England.  Alex Salmond has recently announced that Scotland aims to source 100% of its energy from green energy sources by 2020, whilst in England plans are in place to construct one of the first gigawatt wind turbines.  This reflects a certain inevitability that wind farms will continue to grow and develop in both Scotland and England.  However, where they will be sited and how much it will cost developers may be seen more clearly when a decision is reached in the Davis case.  The wind farm industry will be following this case closely.


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5 Responses to Wind Turbines: Who is my Neighbour?

  1. Hopefully this bill will knock out most of the proposed wind farms.

    BTW I’ve just seen this and thought it worth sharing – Climate change related obsessive and depressive behaviours has led to the creation of the term “carborexia,” which “refers to individuals who have a fanatical desire to reduce their personal carbon footprint, to the point where it severely affects their lifestyle and normal daily activities.”

    SEE REPORT http://nipccreport.org/articles/2011/jul/12jul2011a1.html

  2. Pingback: Wind Turbines: Who is my Neighbour? « Roger Helmer MEP | Wind Power

  3. schutty says:

    Yes, being 600m from two proposed 100m turbines, lets see what the High court says for the Davis, and let’s hope the Lords take note and foloow suit with a sensible bill – 2km seems resonable. I can live with the view, but not the noise! Evidence of of ruined lives is unequivocal especially in the Davis case, but will the judges pander to the politicians or to protection of the citizen. Let’s hope it’s the latter! That would be the righteous decision.

  4. worried says:

    Any update as to the date the bill will go to committee? From a concerned neighbour of the proposed 22 wind turbines at Heckington Fen.

  5. Marie C Murray says:

    Unfortunately, here in Northern Ireland, the Planning Service pander to developers. I have had a 75 metre 850kw turbine built 250m from my property and the owner has now been granted permission for 2 more of the same size – despite the planners own guidelines of at least 10 diameters of the blades from residential housing. The noise has meant no sleep, no pleasure in my garden and shadow flicker which has driven me to distraction – no one in authority is prepared to help.
    Marie C

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