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Update - 3rd November 2014

Neighbours surrounding nine proposed wind turbines are now at grave risk following West Devon Borough Council’s recent in-house approval of the Den Brook developer's ‘Written Scheme’ for measuring intrusive wind turbine noise.

Despite strident representations from Den Brook Judicial Review Group experts pointing to major shortcomings within developer RES's scheme, the local planning authority chose to accept what has been shown to be a seriously flawed assessment by officers within the council.

In our view the council’s reasoning behind the approval was downright obtuse. It defended its decision to approve what amounts to a defective scheme on having followed procedural requirements to the letter. This completely ignores scientific evidence that the approved scheme leaves all those living and working around the Den Brook wind farm totally bereft of effective controls for highly intrusive amplitude modulated (AM) noise.”

The Den Brook Judicial Review Group, its experts and supporters have spent the past eight or so years and many tens of thousands of pounds getting proper and effective noise controls in place only for the local planning authority to now wipe them out at the stroke of a pen. What’s more, the planning authority doesn’t appear to even begin to understand the Written Scheme it approved.

A number of applications submitted by developer RES have attempted to ‘vary’ the specific AM noise controls imposed on the wind farm since planning permission was granted in 2009.

In 2013, RES submitted a section 73 application with proposals aimed to completely overturn the Den Brook AM noise conditions. However, the proposals were closely examined by Den Brook Judicial Review Group experts and decisively shown to understate and thus significantly play down the intrusive AM noise by as much as fifty percent. RES subsequently withdrew that application.

This latest scheme from the developer, approved by West Devon Borough Council, was formulated in conjunction with consultants from the Institute of Sound and Vibration who have also worked extensively for wind industry lobbyists, RenewableUK.

Similarly, the local planning authority engaged the Institute of Sound and Vibration to advise it on technical aspects of the Written Scheme.

There is widespread unease over the council's decisions which regretably give rise to a serious and major loss of effective protection against AM noise from the proposed Den Brook turbines. Moreover, the Den Brook Judicial Review Group felt that, despite further and potentially huge costs, there was no alternative other than to challenge the planning authority's approval of RES’s Written Scheme through the courts.

A judicial review was therefore lodged in July. Permission to proceed was subsequently granted by leading High Court Judge the Honourable Mr Justice Singh. It is scheduled to be tried over two days at HM High Court, Bristol later this week.

The judicial review cannot directly test technical aspects of the approved Written Scheme. The court will however assess whether the council has acted unlawfully in approving a scheme that clearly undermines an earlier judgement by the Appeal Court which unambiguously endorsed the specific AM noise controls imposed on the planning permission.

Nonetheless, argument will inevitably focus on the AM condition itself which clearly has far-reaching implications on construction and timelines for the Den Brook wind turbines.

Den Brook Judicial Review Group

Donations by electronic transfer to:
Den Brook Judicial Review Fund
Sort code: 52-30-06
Account No. 24575658
or by cheque made out to:
Den Brook Judicial Review Fund
and send to:
Nick Jewell (treasurer)
EX17 5AN


Please note:
A Briefing Paper has been prepared by the DBJRG providing a concise overview of RES's planning application. The applicant's proposals are aimed to significantly reduced noise controls for the proposed Den Brook wind turbines which will undoubtedly have a knock-on affect for wind turbines nationwide.

Please contact us for a copy or more information

New Evidence (December 2009) Shows that Government Suppressed Expert Advice to Lower Wind Turbine Noise Limits Intended to Protect Residents


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