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Noise allegations could hamper wind farm plan

A STORM over noise pollution could throw a spoke in the wheel of a bid for a wind farm on Oswaldtwistle Moor.

A STORM over noise pollution could throw a spoke in the wheel of a bid for a wind farm on Oswaldtwistle Moor.

German-based wind development firm Energiekontor has finally submitted a planning application to erect a dozen 400 foot high turbines, over two years after first mooting the idea.

But controversy still surrounds the proposals, including the amount of noise disturbance generated by spinning blades and gearboxes.

Anti-windfarm groups claim that low level 'infrasound' imperceptible during the day can cause people to be woken during the dead quiet of night-time.

And allegations have recently surfaced that an independent report - recommending the maximum healthy noise limits should be much lower than the current 43 decibels - was fudged by civil servants in the setting of guidelines for local authorities.

Resident Stuart Kaufman claimed: "When it was forming the planning guidance the Government doctored the report from the consultants. In other words what we have for planning guidance is a 'dodgy dossier'.

"People keep coming forward and complaining that they've got these wind turbines near them when they were told at the time that it wouldn't make a noise."

Peter Harrison, of Energiekontor, said: "We are not aware of the specific detail of this case, but I would suggest that this is a matter for the Department of Energy and Climate Change to consider. ?However with respect to the Hyndburn Wind Farm I can confirm that the proposal has been designed to be fully compliant with the current noise guidance. In the event of the guidance being amended we would, of course, re-consider the proposal to ensure compliance.

He added: "The wind farm will contribute a substantial amount of clean and sustainable electricity and it is important that anyone who supports the wind farm should make their support known both to local councillors and the planning department."

Hyndburn Planning Committee members were due to meet with the applicant yesterday (Thursday 17) to discuss the plans.

Chairman Councillor John Griffiths said: "We will certainly be looking at this long and hard, but we are bound by material planning considerations.?

The application also includes a payment of around £2.5 million spread over the 25-year lifetime of the wind farm, to be provided to local environmental charity the Prospects Foundation.

Energiekontor has also outlined how it plans to manage the moor, south of Haslingden Road, and restore the peatland through re-wetting works.

An additional £51,000 will go towards the improvement of biological heritage, and provision of information signage and educational material on wind energy.

Over two years ago, Energiekontor said a 24-turbine farm would be sited at Oswaldtwistle and Haslingden moors but the plans were downsized after meeting with fierce criticism from Belthorn residents and countryside campaigners, including author Bill Bryson.

Further details of the scheme can be viewed at www.hyndburnwindfarm.co.uk and copies of the application will be displayed at Scaitcliffe House, Accrington, Oswaldtwistle Library and Accrington Town Hall until 15 January.

 
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