Prosecution of noisy wind turbine operator
We have successfully prosecuted a wind turbine operator for noise pollution, following ongoing complaints from those living close to a turbine located at Cote Farm, Hade Edge.
The investigation has been long and complex
We have tried to work with the turbine operator, Windvest Limited and its director Dean Staveley of Thurstonland, to resolve the situation without resorting to formal action.
However, even after some repair work had been carried out on the turbine the noise pollution continued.
Our officers gathered evidence that the noise levels generated by the turbines was above accepted levels – which were causing real distress to the residents living near the turbine who could hear them from within their homes.
What happened in court?
We took the company and its director to court, and the case was heard at Kirklees Magistrates Court over three days concluding on 8 January 2018.
At court the we presented 8 specimen examples of the noise pollution which demonstrated continued offending over the period of time the case had been under investigation.
The complainants gave evidence about how the noise from the turbine had affected their lives, preventing them from sleeping, using their gardens and causing real distress and anxiety.
Our officers also gave professional evidence on how the noise was a breach of the law, as well as detailing the steps they had tried to help the operator.
And the outcome was…
The judge found the company and its director guilty of breaking the law on each of the 8 occasions.
As a result the company was fined a total of £20,000, and Dean Staveley was fined a total of £16,000 and they were ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
It is hoped that the severity of the fine will prevent Windvest from turning the turbine back on, however if they do the council will look to take further action, which could include a High Court Injunction.
Councillor Naheed Mather, cabinet member for enforcement said:
“I want to thank our environmental health department for the hard work and dedication they have put into this investigation. I believe that cases of this nature are very rare, and by successfully prosecuting the offenders it sends a clear message to similar companies that, we will not accept the operation of equipment that causes unnecessary distress to those living in its shadow.
We live in a country where we need to make the most of our natural resources to find alternative sources of power, but this needs to be done in an appropriate and legal manner.”