In Orne, the government orders the temporary shutdown of a too noisy wind farm

Orne authorities have ordered the operation of the Echauffour wind farm in Orne to be temporarily suspended because the wind turbines are making too much noise. An study must be carried out to see if it is possible to bring the park back below the authorized sound threshold.

Aurélie has tears in her eyes when she talks about it. Five wind turbines slice the sky on the hill just in front of her windows. She has moved to the other end of her house to no longer hear them. Since last Friday, and a meeting with the prefecture, she knows that they will soon stop : "It will be a great happiness, for sure" , she said. "Last Monday, they stopped two of the turbines, it had been a long time since this had happened, it was wonderful. And now I know that I will soon be able to live this every day."

An "emergency measure" in the face of noise pollution

This is a fairly new decision. The Orne government has ordered the Echauffour wind farm, near L'Aigle, to be temporarily shut down because it makes too much noise. Since the commissioning of the wind turbines on the fields which dominate the village two years ago, residents have complained of tinnitus, and an unbearable noise that prevents them from sleeping. The acoustic studies conducted since September 2019, confirm that the noise exceeds the permitted sound volume. 

The exceedances identified in terms of noise have occurred on several occasions, while there have been plans to curb the wind turbines. Despite this, the situation is still not satisfactory.

The prefecture therefore decided to stop the wind turbines , temporarily to allow time to conduct a complete audit of the wind farm: "The exceedances identified in terms of noise, have occurred on several occasions, while there have been plans to curb the wind turbines " , explains the sub-prefect of Argentan , Christine Royer . "Despite that, the situation is still not satisfactory. That is why we have taken this rather exceptional emergency measure to suspend the wind farm."

Can the wind farm be definitively stopped?

The operator of the wind farm, Voltalia , will have to stop rotating its rotors no later than 24 hours after the publication of the prefectural decree , which should appear within a few days. When contacted, the company acknowledged that "the acoustic studies carried out show occasional sound exceedances. They are the subject of studies and actions that we have undertaken so far with the objective of guaranteeing the facility will operate in compliance with noise limits. " . 

At night, our wind turbines were already clamped to the maximum, and despite this the measured noises are beyond admissible standards

Voltalia hopes, after a new study carried out by an expert validated by the prefecture , to be able to resume operation of the park. As the sub-prefect Christine Royer says, "the restart will only be possible after the completion of a third-party expertise, to examine the remedial measures to be put in place, which are a prerequisite for the resumption of this wind farm" . Clearly, we must reduce the noise of wind turbines, otherwise the park might never restart. 

This promises to be complicated, for the mayor of the town , Didier Duvaldestin: "at night, our wind turbines were already restricted to the maximum, and despite this the measured noises are beyond admissible standards" . For him, there is no good solution . Wind turbines degrade the quality of life of its citizens. But they are also a good source of income. They bring in 60,000 euros per year in taxes for the municipality and the community of municipalities, while state grants have fallen significantly in recent years. 

Translation to English assisted with Google Translate


JAN 26 2021
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