Green homeowner hit with noise abatement order because 40ft wind turbine is driving his neighbours mad
By Chris Brooke
Last updated at 12:29 AM on 27th May 2009
When Stephen Munday spent £20,000
on a wind turbine to generate electricity for his home, he was proud to be doing his bit for the environment. He got planning permission and put up the 40ft device two years ago, making sure he stuck to strict noise level limits.
But neighbours still complained that the sound was annoying - and now the local council has ordered him to switch it off.
Officials declared that the sound - which Mr Munday says is 'the same pitch as a dishwasher and quieter than birdsong' - constituted a nuisance, and issued a Noise Abatement Order. This is despite the turbine being more than 164ft from the nearest neighbour's house, as ordered by the planners. The ruling could have serious implications for the Government's drive to promote wind power and the use of renewable domestic energy if repeated across the country.
Electrician Mr Munday, 55, and his wife Sandra, a veterinary nurse, challenged the decision by the Vale of White Horse district council in Oxfordshire. But Didcot magistrates rejected their appeal and they were left to pick up the £5,392 court costs as well.
The turbine generated five kilowatts of electricity a day - the equivalent of boiling 300 kettles - and provided two-thirds of the family's energy needs. It also saved them an average of £500 a year in electricity costs