WIND TURBINE HIGH COURT HEARING: Operators ‘acted fairly over complaints’

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THE operators of eight wind turbines at the centre of a £2.5m lawsuit over alleged noise nuisance have acted reasonably and fairly in response to all complaints, London’s High Court has heard.

William Norris, defence QC in the High Court damages claim brought by Lincolnshire couple, Jane and Julian Davis, said it was “never reasonably foreseeable” that the couple would be “adversely affected” by the sound of the turbines.

He accepted that the Davis’s had been “affected” by the noise, but insisted that his clients had done everything possible to “seek to address their concerns about adverse impact”.

He suggested the couple’s accounts of unsettling noise from the turbines has been “exaggerated, inconsistent and unreasonable”.

He added: “Whether their reaction has been that of reasonable windfarm neighbours is an issue in the case – given that the wind farm is compliant with the noise conditions imposed by its planning permission, and given the scientific evidence.”

Mrs Davis and her husband, Julian, are suing landowners – RC Tinsley Ltd and Nicholas Watts – on whose land some of the turbines are sited, as well as Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Cooperative Ltd, who own and operate them.

The case is being viewed as a test on the law relating to noise nuisance from wind turbines.

The couple, who say they were driven out of their home at Grays Farm, Deeping St Nicholas, in 2007 by the “whirr and hum” of the turbine blades, are seeking a permanent injunction to halt the noise, or damages of up to £2.5m to compensate them for the disruption of their lives.

They are now living in Spalding.

The defendants deny creating any noise nuisance and suggest that the couple may have become “unduly sensitive” to the sound of the turbines.

Mr Norris also argued that there was “neither purpose nor legal merit” in pursuing an action against RC Tinsley Ltd and Nicholas Watts – “whose only role in the wind farm is as landlords of the land on which turbines one to five and six to eight respectively stand”.

“The claim against them is misconceived and should be struck out,” he urged Mr Justice Hickinbottom.

It was, he added, “reasonable” for the windfarm operators to continue to operate an enterprise “in which they have substantial commercial interests while continuing to seek to address the claimants’ concerns about adverse impact.”

“In so doing they have acted and are acting reasonably,” he told the court.

The hearing is continuing, with Mrs Davis now giving evidence about complaints lodged to South Holland District Council over noise nuisance.