A closely followed English case concerning a challenge to a wind farm development has been settled out of court.
The case of Davis v Tinsley, Watts, Fenland Windfarms Limited, EDF Energy PLC and Fenland Green Power Co-operative Limited concerned an alleged nuisance caused by a wind farm. The claimants sought £2.5 million damages as a result of noise nuisance caused by the turbine blades, with a permanent injunction to shut down the turbines. The turbine development was less than 1,000 metres from the claimant's house.
A statement has been issued explaining that the parties have reached an out-of-court settlement. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
The noise impact of wind farms on nearby communities is an issue which comes up in many public inquiries, and is often put forward by objectors as a material consideration justifying refusal. Scottish Planning Policy recognises that noise impact is an important consideration when considering whether planning permission should be granted for a new wind farm. Whilst potential noise impact is undoubtedly relevant to whether a planning application should be granted, if planning permission is in fact granted that does not automatically remove the ability of neighbours to complain about - and to sue for - nuisance. Generally, in law, a nuisance is actionable where a person makes use of his land in such a way that is so unreasonable that his neighbour should not be required to tolerate it.
The settlement of the Davis case, even though the terms of any deal which was struck, will likely ensure that the controversy surrounding noise issues concerning wind farm developments will continue.