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Makara and the Meridian “noise torture”

by Lindsay Shelton
Meridian Energy, which claims to support the communities where it generates electricity, is facing attack from the Makara community on the subject of noise from its West Wind windfarm. It’s a subject which refuses to go away.

Makara residents have been stating their concerns about the windfarm for years, because it’s close to their houses. And now that 40 of the 62 turbines have been completed and brought into use, their fears are becoming their reality.

“It’s been horrific, it’s noise torture,” a Makara resident told the Dominion Post [1]at the weekend. Another resident told the paper that Meridian’s 0800 helpline (which received 20 complaints last week) was “so arrogant.”

Earlier this year, Wellington.Scoop attracted a record number of readers for articles about the concerns of Makara residents. On April 27, Makara resident Jenny Jorgensen told us it was outrageous that turbines were being built so close to homes.

In the same month, we described why the issue of noise was causing anxiety. Makara residents, accustomed to a settlement where peace and quiet is constant, were having to learn about the concepts of propeller noise and turbine noise at different speeds. And after 18 months of negotiations, they were unable to reach agreement with Meridian on measuring noise levels [2].

In March, photos by Jim Mikoz showed the size of the gigantic turbines [3] which are now causing unhappiness for the people of Makara.

Meridian’s West Wind website [4] refers to economic benefits from wind farms, and states in one of two newsletters that Meridian (“the country’s largest renewable electricity generator and 100 per cent New Zealand owned”) has a strong reputation for supporting the communities where it generates electricity. The subject of noise, however, doesn’t get a mention.