Storm brews over turbines at Kessingland
THE campaign against two giant wind turbines at Kessingland gathered pace this week as more than 70 villagers signed a petition demanding action to stop them disrupting people's lives.
People living in Kessingland and Gisleham say the twin turbines that stand alongside the A12 are causing them to lose sleep and suffer migraines, and claim they could affect the value of their homes.
They say the persistent problems are caused by noise and shadow flicker – which happens when their blades cross sunlight at certain times of day – and are calling for the turbines to be shut down.
But the turbines' owner Triodos Renewables said this week that its own survey confirmed noise levels at both sites were within legal limits and that it was doing all it could to address people's concerns.
The growing unease over the 125ft turbines will come under the spotlight later this month when a public meeting takes place in Kessingland, which will allow local people to voice their concerns. Representatives from Triodos and planning officers from Waveney District Council have been invited to the event on January 27.
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The meeting, which does not yet have a firm venue, has been arranged by Waveney MP Peter Aldous.
Mr Aldous also held an informal meeting on Wednesday at Kessingland's Marram Green Centre where about 60 local people gathered to share their views on the turbines which began operating in the summer.
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At the meeting, a petition of 25 names from people in Market Place, Kessingland, was handed in and another 51 signed it. Among those present was Tim Nathan, 63, who lives near the turbines.
He told The Journal: 'I think Mr Aldous was taken aback by the number of people who came. It just shows the depth and the strength of feeling among people about the turbines. 'People are very concerned about them. It is all aspects about them – the noise, the quality of people's lives and the value of people's properties.
'We did not ask for these turbines to be put here and we don't want them here. They should be shut down.'
Sue Kershaw, who lives within a quarter of a mile of the turbines, was also at the meeting. She says that during December she only had six nights of undisturbed sleep because of noise and vibrations from the turbines.
'It's not a loud noise but it's like sleeping with a fridge in my bedroom,' she said. 'I'm just getting really tired of it now. Like so many other people I requested that the turbines be turned off at night so we can all get some sleep.'
Ms Kershaw presented the petition with 76 names to Mr Aldous during Wednesday afternoon's meeting.
She said those who attended had also expressed concerns about sleepless nights, migraines, potential devaluation of their homes, holidaymakers staying away from the area and the affect on animals.
Mr Aldous said he set up this week's meeting and the public meeting later in this month after he was contacted by people worried about the turbines. He said: 'The concerns primarily relate to the noise and also to shadow flicker. The meeting gave the opportunity to go through those concerns and views. From the number of people who attended and from some of the letters I have received, this quite clearly needs to be addressed.'
He said he was looking forward to the public meeting so all sides could give their views and find a way forward.
The turbines – one at the Africa Alive wildlife park and the other on farmland by the A12 – were installed in early 2011 and started producing energy in June. Since then, according to Bristol-based Triodos, they have generated 4m kilowatt hours of sustainable energy.
Triodos says the rotor blades used on the turbines were the 'quietest available'. But, as previously reported by The Journal, the commissioned an expert to carry out noise measurement tests in people's gardens after a number of complaints.
In a letter seen by the Journal, Triodos director Matthew Clayton tells Mr Nathan that the noise survey shows 'we comply with the planning consent' for the turbines.
He adds: 'However we continue to work with the manufacturer to seek ways of reducing the noise emitted from turbines. If we are able to identify the source of any unexpected noise, then we will mitigate this.
'We would lie to assure you that we are in regular contact with the appropriate authorities, including Waveney District planning, environmental health and your local MP Peter Aldous. In addition we are working with technical experts to deal with your concerns.
'The turbines are well suited to the site and have been producing well, this contributing to a more sustainable energy system for the UK.'
Shadow flicker is the flickering effect caused when rotating wind turbine blades periodically cast shadows through constrained openings, such as the windows of neighbouring properties.
Triodos says it has installed equipment which can shut down the turbines under 'shadow casting conditions' to limit shadow flicker to reasonable levels.
The turbines each has the capacity to produce 2.05MW of green electricity – together enough to power up to about 3,000 homes.
For almost two years protesters tried to halt the planning application. But in April 2009, after appeals and hearings before a planning inspector and deputy high court judge, the main objectors from the Benacre Estate and Gisleham Parish Council lost their fight.
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