Wind farm noise nuisance couple speak of relief

Bubbly again: Julian and Jane Davis with a smile back on their face after their High Court action was settled.
Bubbly again: Julian and Jane Davis with a smile back on their face after their High Court action was settled.

“MAKING plans” is what Jane and Julian Davis are most looking forward to after their five-year wind turbine legal battle came to an end last week.

The couple reached a secret settlement in their High Court case, which they launched after claiming the wind farm at Deeping St Nicholas drove them out of their nearby home.

The couple describe themselves as “happy and relieved” to have a conclusion to the battle, which had engulfed half of their married life.

Jane (55) explained: “We have been married for ten years, and we’ve spent five-and-a-half on this, one year fighting breast cancer, my mum was terminally ill for a year before she died and Julian’s dad was also ill.

“We’ve not been able to make any plans for anything. We have been very low and depressed about things.

“We used to go away and visit arts and craft shops and buy something for our home but we have not been able to do that because we didn’t feel able to.”

The couple were suing landowners RC Tinsley Ltd and Nicholas Watts, as well as Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Co-operative Ltd, who own and operate the eight-turbine windfarm.

The legal bid was thought to be the first private noise nuisance case of its kind and was being heralded as an important test case.

Witnesses had given statements to the High Court over three weeks in July, but it was adjourned for almost four months.

However, last Tuesday – the day before proceedings were due to recommence – the legal teams for the two parties agreed to a settlement. The details of it are being kept strictly confidential.

The couple are now tentatively preparing for their future, with Jane hoping to return to her job as a nurse in the New Year in an NHS community role, while Julian intends to once again immerse himself into farm life.

They are also planning their first traditional Christmas since 2005 – with simple pleasures such as writing Christmas cards having previously passed them by due to worries about their legal fight.

The Davis family intend to “sit tight” in their rented home in Mayfair Drive, Spalding, for the time being. A decision is still to be made on whether their farmhouse in North Drove Bank, Spalding, could be exempt from council tax in the future.

“This has been worse than fighting cancer,” said Jane. “With cancer, all of the professionals are on your side and in the first year of this, in 2006/07, we felt we were up against a brick wall. In 2007 a noise report came out and it said the problems we were having did exist.

“It’s been very hard and has done a huge amount of damage to us in the last five years. On the plus side, we have met new people, been to come amazing places and met some pretty amazing contacts both here and abroad.”

While the case has not produced a formal decision on whether there is a noise nuisance in Deeping St Nicholas, Jane and Julian believe their plight has made a difference on an international scale.

Julian (46) explained: “The goal always was to reach our own solution but on the way through it has helped a lot.”

Jane added: “There is greater recognition that wind turbines can cause noise. Even if there had been a decision in court, it would have been a very specific, case-related decision. Renewables UK has invested and is continuing to invest in a significant research project.”

Jane says Defra has since introduced policy relating to wind turbines.