Planning regulation and inspection around wind- farms is expected to come under further scrutiny following claims that a wind- farm in Co Waterford was built with larger blades than allowed for.
The Barnafaddock wind in Ballyduff Upper consists of 11 turbines, for which eight were granted permission to include blades of 90m in diameter. Three other turbines on Coillte lands have permission for a 103m diameter.
However, residents have complained to Waterford City and County Council that the diameter on all the turbines is actually 103m.
The discovery was initially made in a noise monitoring report, commissioned by the developer, which detailed the size of the the blades. Subsequent to that, local man Ronald Krikke measured the turbines and has alleged that the blades are 103m.
He reported his findings to the council in April but has not received any response from the planning authority.
“The big issue is that rights of people are being squashed,” says Mr Krikke.
He said the council is responsible for checking on whether windfarms are built according to planning.
“For an individual, it is impossible to take on the big windfarm companies, no individual has the money to battle through the courts,” he said. “So it is my opinion you must rely on the council to protect the interests of people.”
Mr Krikke and other locals have been complaining about the noise effects from the farm since it began operating in 2015. They believe the noise pollution is being adversely affected by what they believe to be the bigger blades than those allowed for in the planning permission.
The owner of Barnafaddock, an international investment fund called Blackrock, has refused to comment on the claims.
Waterford County Council, replying to queries from the Irish Examiner, said that the noise report was misinterpreted, which led to a misunderstanding about the blade sizes.
“A noise-monitoring report was conditioned in relation to the three turbines of 103m diameter,” the statement said, referring to the three turbines on Coillte lands which have permission for a 103m blade.
However, the council has not stated whether it is satisfied that the eight turbines with permission for 90m blades have been constructed accordingly.
In March 2016, the court of appeal ruled that a man in Kilvinane, Co Cork, was entitled to orders requiring the dismantling of three wind turbines due to their being built bigger than allowed for in planning permission.