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Government “cover up” on windfarm noise

[Monday 14 December 2009]

Government officials suppressed a damning report on the noise caused by wind turbines in order to push ahead with the building of hundreds of on-line windfarms in England, a report in the Sunday Times alleged yesterday (December 13).

This will come to a shock to residents of the western Yorkshire Dales, where a planning enquiry is to be held in the New Year into plans by a German company to erect five giant wind turbines the size of Big Ben just outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park near Gargrave.

The turbines could be seen across 40 miles of the most beautiful countryside in the north of England, not just from the national park but also from the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire and Pendle Hill, site of the infamous witch trials and a tourist magnet.

Local campaigners are trying to raise money to fight the application after the German company reneged on a pledge not to go ahead with the project if there was local opposition.

Yesterday, the Sunday Times claimed Government officials suppressed a report by specialist consultants which suggested that the constant noise from giant turbines could damage the health of people living within four or five miles. The report also carried quotes from people who had been forced from their homes by noise from existing wind farms.

Opponents fear that this revelation – forced into the open by the Freedom of Information Act – is yet another indication that Gordon Brown is determined to push ahead with hundreds of onshore windfarms despite local protests.

Most of them will be sited away from towns and cities in hilly, open countryside or at the coast, both areas of high landscape value. It has already created the Strategic Planning Commission, just starting work, which can by-pass local planning decisions.

When this was announced, parliament was told that it would only sit on ”mega” projects like power stations, airports and new motorways – but it is feared that windfarms will also be included in its remit.

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