THE controversial application for four wind turbines on Reeves Hill – just over the border in Herefordshire – could be going back to the planning committee as a result of further sound tests.

Following representations by the Stonewall Hill Conservation Group (SHCG), Dulas, who are acting as consultants for the wind farm developers, are redoing their sound measurements. The predicted noise levels found in the previous data were said to be close to the allowable limits.

The reassessment will address the issue of wind sheer and will also involve measurements at several new sites close to the development that were left out last time.

Dr Stephen Hugh-Jones, chairman of SHCG, said the group had complained about the background noise measurement sites prior to the decision being taken by Herefordshire Planning Committee to grant the application conditional consent last February.

“This time the choice of properties and the location of sound-recording equipment were agreed at a site visit on December 10, 2009, by a group including Herefordshire and Powys EHOs (Environmental Health Officers) and SHCG. This is the first time that the council and developers have granted SHCG any meaningful role in discussions of the wind farm application.”

The sound monitoring was due to start earlier this month and will last two to three weeks. The data will then be analysed by Dulas' acousticians as well as being sent to Mike Stigwood, an acoustician working on SHCG’s behalf.

“We understand that the outcome of this new assessment will be presented to the planning committee but do not yet know any further details about timing or procedure.

“Events so far certainly justify our decision to employ an experienced firm of solicitors who have been able to advise us on complex technical issues such as noise and have involved a leading acoustics company on our behalf. If the current measurements lead to predictions above the allowable guidelines, the council will have to reconsider its position,” Dr Hugh-Jones added.