What do your think? New bid to cut noise of Kessingland turbines
NEW noise-reduction measures are to be employed to curb the disruption caused by two controversial wind turbines in Kessingland after a wave of complaints by residents.
But it remains unclear whether the changes will become permanent – even if they prove successful – because the operators admit they may cause them to lose money.
EcoGen and Triodos Renewables have agreed to pilot new software on the turbines, which stand either side of the A12, to reduce the sound they make during certain weather conditions.
It comes after one turbine was declared a statutory nuisance by environmental health officers and more than 160 people logged complaints about the disruption they caused.
It is hoped that the new software will address the issue by changing the speed of the blades at the specific time, and weather conditions, when most of the complaints occurred.
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But campaigners who want the turbines turned off said it was now a 'waiting game' to discover whether the measures would improve their quality of life. They also expressed their disappointment that one of the turbines would no longer be deemed a statutory nuisance once the software was installed.
Triodos Renewables' operations director Matthew Clayton said the trial was likely to last four to six weeks after the software was installed.
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He told The Journal: 'What we have done is use the complaints information which the environmental health team have been gathering and organising. We have used that and correlated it against the prevailing weather conditions and the time of the complaints to identify what conditions prevail when the complaints occur.
'We have spent a lot of time with noise experts to try and manage the noise. In certain circumstances we have worked up what we think might be a way of mitigating the noise.'
Mr Clayton revealed most complaints were made when the blades were turning at eight metres per second. He added: 'The turbines will be adjusted to the wind and we will have to see if this has a significant effect on revenue, but we are going to trial it. We will have to judge the feasibility of the mitigation measures and whether they will be beneficial to the company.'
An investigation by Waveney District Council's Environmental Health Team concluded that noise levels at one home in Whites Lane, Kessingland, two months ago was enough to make one turbine a statutory nuisance.
It led to campaigners calling on the council to serve an abatement notice on Triodos and EcoGen, which would give them seven days to address the 'noise nuisance' or face possible legal action.
But the council admitted it was reluctant to make the move as an appeal by Triodos could leave it powerless to hold the company to account in the future.
As efforts are made to find a solution, representatives from the council, the Kessingland Wind Turbine Pressure Group (KWTPG) and the two operators met for a private meeting last Thursday.
Sue Kershaw, KWTPG spokesman said: 'It has just become a waiting game now to see if there is some improvement in the noise. But we are disappointed that the statutory noise nuisance is now obsolete. We have been told that Triodos will inform us once the new equipment is put in.
'People are not only fed up with not getting any sleep in Black Street, Gisleham, and Kessingland, but they are also tired of having to write in to Waveney District Council. But we have told Triodos that we will not go away and we would keep fighting because of the effect on our quality of life.'
Waveney's principal environmental health officer Andrew Reynolds admitted he remained sceptical about the mitigation measures, amid claims it will be hard to stop the noise caused by amplitude modulation – an effect of the turning blades – when nobody knows how it is caused.
He said: 'They do not know whether they will solve the problem with amplitude modulation. No one knows how its caused so how can you mitigate it?'
A fourth public meeting about the turbines is expected to be held in Kessingland soon.
?To report noise caused by the turbines during the night, call Waveney's environmental health team on 01502 515435 between 7pm and 1am on Fridays or Saturdays. To make a report during office hours, ring 01502 562111.
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