Buchan wind farm deemed too noisy; gets ‘Asbo’

A WIND farm has been served with an Asbo-style notice over claims the turbines are too noisy for nearby homeowners to bear.
Stuartfield Windfarm has been deemed a "Noise Nuisance" by Aberdeenshire Council. Picture: SubmittedStuartfield Windfarm has been deemed a "Noise Nuisance" by Aberdeenshire Council. Picture: Submitted
Stuartfield Windfarm has been deemed a "Noise Nuisance" by Aberdeenshire Council. Picture: Submitted

Operators of the 260-foot high structures have been warned they face prosecution unless they take action to address a thumping noise coming from the blades’ rotation that nearby residents say is driving them to distraction.

The triple turbine development in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, by Stuartfield Wind Power, was installed by landowner Albert Howie, who was a local councillor at the time.

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The firm has denied the turbines make a loud noise and claimed it amounted to an “occasional whooshing”.

The masts became operational in November 2011 and, since then, environmental officers at Aberdeenshire Council have received regular complaints about general noise and disturbance.

Following an investigation, the local authority has issued the business with a statutory noise abatement order, demanding measures to fix the problem.

If the firm fails to comply with the terms of the notice, it could be taken to court and fined up to £5,000 plus a fine of £500 for every day the offence continues.

Stuartfield Wind Power is battling the order and has raised a civil action against Aberdeenshire Council at Peterhead Sheriff Court.

A hearing to decide the appeal has been scheduled for May.

The company is being allowed to keep the turbines in operation pending the outcome of proceedings.

A council spokesman said yesterday: “This matter arose following complaints from neighbours and a subsequent investigation by environmental health officers. As the sound of the turbines was considered to be a statutory nuisance, an abatement notice was served.”

Mr Howie’s son, John, who runs Stuartfield Wind Power, said: “This seems to have come about after complaints from just one person. As far as we’re concerned, we have been operating well within our planning requirements.

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“We have carried out our own noise surveys and taken microphones to all neighbouring properties. Everything has been done above board.

“You can occasionally hear the whooshing of the blades, but it’s very seldom this happens and it’s not very noisy.”

When planning permission for a wind farm is granted by a council a criteria is set out regarding the distance of the turbines from homes and the noise level of the wind farm.

The council spokesman said that after receiving complaints about the noise of the masts, environmental health officers visited the homes of neighbours.

They took testing equipment and found the noise from the turbines was above an acceptable level and the order was issued.

Last year, trade body RenewableUK studied 521 sites and found that only 15 produced a sound that could be heard a kilometre away.