Tuesday, November 22, 2022

High Court Reporters

Two couples have brought High Court actions over what they claim is the nuisance and excessive noise being generated by windfarm located near their Co Wexford homes.

The actions have been brought by Margret Webster and her partner Keith Rollo as well as Ross Shorten and Joan Carty against Meenacloghspar (Wind) Limited, which operates the two turbine Ballyduff Windfarm at Kilcomb, near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford.

They both have properties close to the windfarm which has been in operation since 2017.

They allege that since that date they have been subjected to constant noise and nuisance which had damaged their lives, health and property value.

The claims are fully denied by the defendant, with a registered address at Stillorgan Road, Donnybrook, Dublin 4.

The cases, which are expected to take several weeks to hear, opened before Ms Justice Emily Egan on Tuesday.

In their action Ms Webster and Mr Rollo seek an order requiring the defendant to cease operating, decommission and dismantle the windfarm.

They also want an order restraining the defendant from operating the windfarm until it is constructed in a way such as to not cause undue and excessive noise, vibration and shadow flicker at their home.

They further seek a declaration that the windfarm has been operated other than in accordance with its planning permission.

They also seek damages including aggravated damages for nuisance, negligence, breach of duty and a breach of their constitutional rights including their rights to family life, bodily integrity and the quiet enjoyment of their home.

In a separate motion Mr Rollo and Ms Webster also seek to amend their action, so that they may bring personal injuries claims against the defendant.

That motion is opposed.

Alleged impact of windfarm

Opening the case John Rogers SC for the plaintiffs said that Ms Webster and Mr Rollo claim that the impact of the noise, vibration and shadow flicker from the turbines has devalued their family home, which is 369 metres away from the turbines.

Their sleep has been disrupted, their anxiety levels have increased, and their overall mental health has suffered due to the noise and vibrations generated by what are “significant” pieces of electricity generating infrastructure, counsel added.

The court heard that the noise was like a cement mixer, or an aeroplane flying overhead without ever landing.

It is also claimed that the noise from the wind farm breaches one of the conditions of the planning permission.

In their separate but related action Mr Shorten and Ms Carty with an address at Grange Road, Rathfarnham Dublin 14 and at Ballyduff which is some 359 metres from the windfarm.

They have also asked the court for a set of orders and declarations similar to those sought by Ms Webster and Mr Rollo.

They have also claimed that their Co Wexford home has been devalued and their rights to enjoyment of their property have been damaged by the noise, vibrations and shadow flicker from the windfarm.

In its defences against both sets of proceedings the windfarm operator, represented by Oisin Collins SC, denies it is responsible for any diminution of the value of the plaintiffs’ home, that it has interfered with their constitutional rights or that it has been negligent as alleged.

It also denies that the windfarm is being operated in breach of its planning permission.

The hearings continue.

 

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