23 March -Wind farm issues raised in the House of Commons

10:19 23 March 2016 Debbie Davies
The Cotton Wind Farm, showing some the noise monitoring equipment.
The Cotton Wind Farm, showing some the noise monitoring equipment.
The Cotton Wind Farm at Graveley near St Neots was the subject of a debate in the House of Commons last week.
The energy debate on March 14 heard from South Cambs MP Heidi Allen and Daventry MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, whose contribution was largely based on evidence and complaints supplied by campaigners from the Cotton Farm Residents’ Association.

“I have been to Cotton Farm to see the wind farm for myself and met some of the residents who have provided me with information about amplitude modulation, and the noise the community suffers on a regular basis, Mr Heaton-Harris told the House.

“This is not rocket science. Where there is amplitude modulation, people suffer, and for too long genuine health concerns have been swept under the carpet.”

The Cotton Farm Residents’ Association installed its own noise and weather monitoring equipment in January 2013 after eight, 126-metre-high turbines were installed on the former airfield at Graveley.

The turbines were given the go-ahead on appeal despite huge protests and objections from two district councils and five parish councils.

Amplitude modulation is the wave sound produced by the blades of the turbines turning which has been compared to the sound of a “pair of trainers in a tumble drier”.

The Cotton Farm campaigners, along with the Independent Noise Group, are calling on the Government to protect existing wind farm neighbours and bring in tighter controls on where wind farms are located in the future, specially their proximity to homes.

Heidi Allen told the House last week that she found it “staggering” that given the technology available, that anyone was surprised there were problems.

“They [people living near turbines] cannot sell their houses and they can’t open their windows. The data is available and the Government would be wise to make use of it and incorporate it into their views.”

Wind farm campaigner Bev Gray said he was encouraged by the debate in the house. A meeting was also held on March 9 in Westminster with councillors from South Cambs District Council, members of the Cotton Farm Residents’ Association, Jonathan Djanogly and energy minister Andrea Leadsom, to discuss the noise issues.

Greencoat, the company that owns Cotton Farm, says it has established a collaborative relationship with the residents’ association, and looks forward to continuing this and takes its social commitments seriously.

Greencoat agreed to run the wind farm in “curtailed mode” to alleviate the noise problems, but residents say this has not been successful.