A wind turbine in Mullavilly – which operated 24/7 – is now in use during working hours only, after a compromise between the village-based company Rapid International and the local ABC Council.
A notice – dating back to the days of Craigavon Borough Council – was issued after residents complained that the turbine was creating what they termed “unacceptable noise”.
The council and the company agreed last month that the turbine should operate from 8am-5pm only, and should also be turned off during bank and public holidays, five working days at Easter, a fortnight over the Twelfth of July period, and over Christmas and the New Year.
Neither the company nor the residents are totally happy with the outcome. But Rapid International say they made the agreement in order to draw a line under the issue – “we have more than complied, with the turbine now operating from 8.30am-4.30pm during working days”.
However, the residents want it turned off completely and have called in Assembly member Danny Kennedy to explore the possibilities of further action.
A spokesperson for the residents said, “During the day, an increasing number of retired residents are at home. The noise disturbs them to the extent that they can’t enjoy relaxing in their gardens or working around their houses. The noise pollution remains a problem.
“This is the first time a local in the UK has used noise nuisance legislation to support residents in a situation like this. There are also fears issues, as the environmental staff have told us that the tips of the turbine can move at speeds up to 100 miles an hour during stormy weather.”
However, Rapid said they had more than complied and simply wanted to move on, “drawing a line under the entire situation, and the turbine is serviced twice a year to satisfy safety standards.”
They added, “We employ 55 people in our Mullavilly premises, and the turbine reduced our power bills in a competitive world market where we face tough opposition from countries like Italy, Turkey and China.”
The Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is unlikely to pursue the matter any further. It said, “This was a significant and complex case with the ABC Council undertaking a detailed investigation of the noise problems and as a result serving Noise Abatement Notices on the turbine owner.
“These Notices were appealed to the local Magistrate’s Court, and hence the noise emissions from it to working hours only from Mondays to Fridays.”