Equipment to stop Kessingland wind turbines disturbing villagers was not installed

Operators of two controversial wind turbines have admitted the equipment needed to stop them disturbing villagers had not been installed.

Tim Kirby, managing director of EcoGen, claimed he was unaware the module designed to shut down the turbines when they created flickering shadows on homes had not been fitted on ones in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

But he moved to reassure residents that it was now installed on the turbine at Africa Alive wildlife park, while the work was under way to install a second module on the turbine near the A12.

Mr Kirby said: 'The module was factored into the original design of the turbines and should have been installed.

'When we realised they had not been fitted we contacted the company in Germany who carry out the work to make sure they do so.'

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The announcement came yesterday when more than 100 people descended on a public meeting at St Edmunds Church Hall, Kessingland, to air their grievances about the project.

Residents - including people from the neighbouring village of Gisleham- called for compensation from Waveney District Council who backed the original planning proposal, while others demanded a public enquiry.

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But the majority of complaints were from people who claimed their lives had been affected by the noise and flickering shadows from the turning blades.

Terry Bullard, who also lives in Black Street, said he couldn't bear to stay in his kitchen when the turbines were on because of the shadow flicker.

The retired coach driver said: 'There are no trees or nothing to stop it - it is unbearable to be in the kitchen with the strobing.

'And from two in the morning all you can hear is 'whoosh, whoosh, whoosh,' so I hope you are going to sort it.'

He added: 'There has been a 20pc loss in the value of our home and we want some compensation for the hassle.'

The windturbines have been constructed by Triodos Renewables with the support of renewable energy project developer EcoGen under a joint development agreement with Lowestoft company SLP. Together they should generate electricity equivalent to the needs of 3,000 homes.

Matthew Clayton, director of Triodos, apologised for not having the equipment installed sooner and said his company had carried out research that suggested the turbines would not have an impact on the value of properties.

But when asked if they could shut them down at night so people could sleep better, he said it was unlikely.

He said: 'In all likelyhood we will not switch them off at night. As long as we are compliant with regulations we won't.'

MP for Waveney Peter Aldous, who chaired the meeting, said: 'I think it will be a good idea if people record their specific concerns with their name and address so we can give them to the operators and environmental health team so they can work to address these concerns.'

Mr Aldous proposed another public meeting be held in three months time to reveal what progress has been made.

The panel at the meeting included, Philip Ridley and Kevin Hilson of Waveney District Council, operators Matthew Clayton and Tim Kirby and enviromental protection manager for Waveney District Council and Suffolk Costal District Council Andrew Reynolds.

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