Probe into turbines’ ‘excessive noise’

Waterford Council is to appoint an independent body to monitor emissions from two wind turbines operating in the east of the county following complaints of excessive noise and light flickering.

The turbines are located at Rathnameneenagh, Ballycureen in the Ring Gaeltacht.

They have been operating since mid-2014 after Limerick-based company, Ballycurreen Windfarm Ltd acquired planning permission.

Cllr Pat Nugent told a meeting of Lismore-Dungarvan Municipal District Council that householders, some 1.2km from the site, had recorded noise levels above 75 decibels, almost twice those permitted under planning regulations.

A level of 75 decibels (dB) is considered appropriate to a vacuum cleaner, while a prolonged 85 decibel level is considered dangerous to hearing.

Cllr Nugent said the incursions were “intermittent” but had occurred on 10 of the last 15 days in December.

He described the effect as “like a whooshing sound, or a jet passing over the houses”. He believed the levels depended on “weather conditions and the way in which the blades turned, as controlled by the operator.”

Cllr Nugent said: “People’s sleep patterns are being disturbed” in what he said was an indictment of wind energy, if proven.

The Fine Gael councillor said complaints also included lights “flickering” in summertime, between 5am and 6.30am.

The councillor said the operating company was self-regulating and his call for independent monitoring was broadly supported.

Ballycurren Windfarm Ltd have not commented.

But senior planner with Waterford Council Jim O’Mahoney said the company claimed the method by which the emissions had been measured on behalf of residents was inadequate.

He says the council is now seeking costings from independent assessors and “the likelihood is that we will conduct independent monitoring, following a desktop study of the topography and so on”.”


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