'Silent' wind turbine sees residents petition over noise
Monday 3 March 2014 12:22
ANGRY villagers are calling for a wind turbine in a school playground – which they say sounds like helicopter – to be removed just over six months after it was installed.
Parents, councillors and people living nearby said peace has been ruined since the turbine was erected at a Flintshire’s highest school in July.
They have launched a petition for its removal from the grounds of Ysgol Rhos Helyg Primary School.
Opposers said the noise from the 20m turbine is “terrifying” with others likening it to the sound of a helicopter.
When the school, near Halkyn, was granted permission to install the turbine by a Flintshire Council planning committee last year, headteacher Gareth Roberts said the energy source was “noiseless”.
But villagers said the turbine came as a surprise to them when it was erected and are now calling for it to be taken down.
Louis Henri, who lives about 400-yards from the school, said: “The noise coming from it has been horrendous.
“It sounds like a Chinook helicopter hovering over our homes. “It overpowers the radio in the house. I don't think enough thought has been put into it.”
He added: “None of us knew it was going up - we weren't aware until we saw it.”
The lofty structure provides power to the school, giving it an estimated £3,000-a-year financial saving and reducing its carbon footprint.
The 10kw turbine stands 20m away from the school and holds a seven metre rotor blade.
The Halkyn Mountain area where the school sits is known for its higher-than-average wind speeds.
When it was installed following a three-year process last July, headteacher Mr Roberts said: “What is amazing is that the turbine doesn’t make any sound at all.”
But Colin Legg, the Flintshire councillor for Halkyn, says: “Noise pollution people have been to see it. In the recent high winds it was making a horrible noise and something was wrong with it which was fixed.
“But it is an ongoing problem which I am certainly working to resolve.”
Steve Marquis, who owns the Blue Bell Inn where the petition is being housed, also likened the noise of the turbine to a helicopter, as did parent Claire Lush, whose eight-year-old son attends the school.
“The noise from it is terrifying,” she said.
Governors’ chairman Bob Robinson said: “The project was a Flintshire Council one and although the plans came through the school, most of the parameters as far as noise appeared acceptable on paper.
“However, in practice they are far in excess of what was predicted.
“As a resident, I’m as aware as anyone that the noise levels are unacceptable.
“The wind turbine has to be assessed by experts because something needs to be done about it.
Scott Rowley, interim public protection manager at Flintshire Council, said: “If anyone believes they are suffering from a noise nuisance, they should in the first instance report their concerns to our Pollution Control section on 01352 703330 in order to start the investigation process.”