The Original story by David Wilkes — Daily Mail Online — July 2011
- Kept awake by 320ft turbines despite using earplugs and having double glazing
- ‘I want to stop the noise so we can go back home and relax and sleep and live like we did five years ago’
A couple driven out of their home by noise from a wind farm launched a landmark battle in the High Court yesterday over their inability to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Jane and Julian Davis say the low- frequency hum of the 320ft tall turbines, which they liken to the sound of a helicopter, kept them awake even with earplugs and their double glazed windows closed.
They claim it became so intolerable they were forced to move from their home in Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, six months after the eight-turbine wind farm began operating just over half a mile from their home in 2006.
Mr and Mrs Davis are challenging the turbines’ owners in a case which, if they win, could lead to operators of up to 50 wind farms across the country having to stop their turbines or compensate hundreds of residents living near them.
Speaking yesterday outside the London court before the start of the case, Mrs Davis, 55, a former nurse, described the noise as a ‘whoom whoom whoom’.
‘I want to stop the noise so we can go back home and relax and sleep and live like we did five years ago,’ she said. ‘It is a horrible noise.
‘It is unpredictable but occurs mainly in the course of the night, and there is no assurance that you can stay asleep.
‘I’m not against wind farms or what they look like. I just want the industry and Government to recognise that some wind farms have unexpected adverse effects.’
The couple could face ruin if they lose the case and are forced to pay the defendants’ legal costs.
The case will focus on ‘amplitude modulation’, the swishing noise made by the blades in certain conditions.
Research suggests many complaints about wind farms relate to this, and the industry admits it is not properly understood.
The couple, who have two grown-up children, would ideally like to be able to move back to the farmhouse, which Mr Davis, 46, bought in 1993.
They say the problem could be resolved if the owners and operators, Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Co-operative Limited, limited the hours of operation of one of the turbines and removed two others.
Their lawyers are seeking an injunction to bring about these changes.
But in the event that the modifications are not made, they are seeking £400,000 damages for their extra housing costs to date and to buy an equivalent home elsewhere. There is currently no legal limit to how near a wind farm can be to someone’s home.
Opening the case yesterday Peter Harrison QC, representing the couple, said: ‘For Jane and Julian Davis, wind farms have emphatically not been the source of trouble-free, green renewable energy which the firms promoting and profiting from wind energy would have the general public believe.’
Mr Harrison added that the operator’s approach has been ‘to attack the credibility and reasonableness’ of Mr and Mrs Davis.
William Norris QC, for the defendants, said an injunction should not be granted given the operators’ willingness to find a solution to the noise.
The case continues.
A COUPLE forced out of their home by noise from a wind farm face a second battle after buying a new house close to nine proposed turbines.
Jane and Julian Davis reached an out-of-court settlement at the end of 2011 after a five-year battle over alleged noise nuisance from the wind farm at Deeping St Nicholas.
After the settlement, the couple spoke of the relief at the end of their nightmare and set about getting their lives back to normal.
One of the first things they did was buy a new home for Julian’s ageing parents close to Cuckoo Bridge in Horseshoe Road.
But their dreams of a quiet life have been shattered by plans for up to nine 125m turbines within about 1.5km and in the direct line of sight of Julian’s parents’ new home.
Jane said: “When we heard about these plans we literally put our heads in our hands and said ‘oh no, not again’.
“The house isn’t quite as close as we were before, but there is the potential for noise and certainly it will spoil their view.
“We just can’t stand the thought of having to go through it all again.
“It took six months to persuade them to move and now their lives are going to be blighted by the sight of these turbines.”
Jane and Julian are now throwing their weight – as well as their almost expert knowledge of wind turbines – behind a campaign to stop the development at The Delph – but have vowed not to let it take over their lives as their battle against developers of the Deeping St Nicholas farm did.
The couple claim noise from the turbines prevented them from sleeping at their home in North Drove Bank, Spalding, which was just 1,050 metres away from the nearest turbine.
They sued landowners and the companies that owned and operated the turbines, but a secret settlement was reached as expert witnesses were due to take the stand at London’s High Court.
Julian added: “My parents, who will be 80 this year, had five long years of this hell and we have all just got our lives back on track.
“My dad has been ill and we want to keep them out of it as much as possible, but we will do what we can to help oppose these plans.”
The couple joined almost 200 other residents of West Pinchbeck to voice their views of the proposed wind farm at The Delph at a public meeting on Monday.
One of their big bugbears is the “drop in the ocean” amount of electricity generated by wind farms when compared to the exisitng Spalding Power Station.
Jane said: “When Spalding Power Station expands I believe it will equate to the output of about 7,000 of these wind turbines.
“So this wind farm will provide just a drop in the ocean but will mean misery for the people who live in its shadow.
“We bought this house for Julian’s parents because they wanted somewhere quiet, but it seems nowhere in South Holland is safe from the relentless march of turbines.”