Update 1st October: I have submitted an article to the American Wind Power web site http://www.wind-watch.org/news/?p=18306
I have placed the article mainly as a conduit to try and establish UK networks with people who may have had similar problems and might be able to help us and advise us. Please note that I am NOT anti-wind power (and I haven't heard from anyone who is) although this site is against the proliferation of wind power - see http://www.wind-watch.org/faq-aboutus.php. I do believe, however, that we should not race along with this technology at such a pace and without controls so that it rides roughshod over people, for whatever reason.
Update 2nd October / 2:
I have received an email from EDF summarising the past 6 - 8 weeks of activity and correspondence. They are now active in carrying out further investigations to existing known problem homes.
Also, they plan to ask the consultants who advised the local planners (within the EIA) regarding possible TV services disruption, to re-look at the situation. These are the same consultants who, by implication, advised that there would be no degradation of digital TV services, and it would appear did not realise that the east end of Langley Park is a known marginal digital TV signal area and is in the shadow of the Wind farm hill, which in turn is in line with the Digital TV services transmitter at Pontop Pike.
I have suggested to EDF that an alternative consultant should therefore be engaged and am awaiting a response.
They are suggesting that we wait (an indeterminate time) for results of these and other investigations before they agree to attend a meeting. I suggested that we would call a meeting anyway, to which they would be asked to attend along with a representative of the planning department, OFCOM and other relevant parties. We may not have the benefit of all of those invited, however, this at the very least will update residents (particularly those without internet access) who have had this issue unresolved for some five months, and gauge how the complainants wish to proceed.
The meeting is planned for Wednesday, 15th October at 7:00pm in the conference room of the Langley park WM Club, 1 - 2 Hawthorn terrace DH7 9SH. It is the only local venue able to accommodate over 50 attendees, and thanks are expressed for their kind offer to make the venue available.
Details will be posted in the Post office, the Newsagent and The WM club by Friday 3rd October.
Update 6th October: Invitations to the meeting inc. maps etc. have been sent recorded delivery to Hilary Armstrong, Derwentside Dist. Council Planning dept., EDF (Langley Wind farm project manager), Pager Power (who's Telecommunications report input to the EIA discounted any issues with Freeview Digital TV services), OFCOM head office London, OFCOM regional office Merseyside, and Wind Prospect Ltd. (who were involved in organising the visits that resulted in EDF's denial of liability, by way of representation).
Update 7th October: Derwentside Dist. Council Planning dept. have confirmed they will attend the meeting.
OFCOM contacted me today to offer an independent free of charge signal survey in the affected area of Langley Park. I would like to direct the technician to the "centre" of the affected area rather than my home address, and I'll telephone some prospective members of the community as soon as I have confirmation from OFCOM some time on or after Thursday the 9th. I have requested a 7 day "testing" schedule, which would be subject to suitable wind conditions, from EDF, to try and cover testing in both blade rotation and non rotation conditions. Hopefully, we will have the results available for the meeting.
Update 7th October / 2 : I am considering having copies of this web site printed and delivered to the community on the 13th / 14th, to ensure that people without access to this web site will have up-to-date information. If anyone can volunteer this service for me, please contact me as soon as possible - 07771 867 988 / or Email me.
Update 7th October / 3 : I am awaiting confirmation in writing from the organisation which looks after the Pontop Pike transmitters, which will hopefully confirm information I recently received, indicating that there have been no changes to the Pontop Pike transmitters which might cause any degradation to the Freeview service since January 2008. This is in line with looking at possible causes of the Freeview signal degradation other than the Wind Farm construction.
Update 8th October / 1 : Confirmation has been received that no changes have been made to the Pontop Pike transmitter (e.g. power etc.) since January 2008 that would have had a detrimental effect on Freeview services.
Update 8th October / 2 : Some very good news, I hope! The results of the EDF commissioned surveys have shown unequivocally that the action of the Wind turbine blades are causing degradation of the Freeview signal (as if we wouldn't have predicted this?). Therefore EDF have now accepted responsibility (in line with the Planning Application requirements) and are looking at resolving the problem. I believe they will, and a batch of forms are being sent to me for distribution to the affected residents on my database (again, I'm looking for assistance with this - If anyone can volunteer to help me, please contact me as soon as possible - 07771 867 988 / or Email me).
PLEASE FILL IN THE FORMS AND BRING THEM WITH YOU TO THE MEETING, as they can be handed to EDF, who have agreed to attend.
EDF will then arrange a free-of-charge visit to look at your Freeview reception situation and advise on a resolution, which they will have to fund - if the turbine rotation is deemed to be causing your current Freeview signal problems. This funding could take the form, for example, of improvements to your aerial system or a Freesat installation (non subscription satellite system operated by the BBC and ITV) which provides Digital TV services (actually, some channels are in the new High Definition format for those with new HD TVs - see http://www.freesat.co.uk/index.php?page=Home ) via a dish / set top box and into your TV via a SCART plug.
I stated "Some very good news, I hope!" because this is only a victory if ALL of the complainants' CURRENT Freeview problems can be attributable to the rotating turbine blades when their survey is carried out. I believe this is likely to be the situation, however, we must consider that we might need to press ahead with our case to EDF and Derwentside Dist. Council planners regarding our original complaint (the degradation to Freeview pre-turbine generation / blade rotation due to the construction of the Wind Farm itself) to ensure that no-one "slips through the net" of receiving funding to sort out their problems.
This is a point that will be raised at the meeting, and I believe that we must push for a commitment and not potentially abandon some members of the community.
Update 9th October: I have received a request from the planning department stating that, whereas they would be happy to meet with the residents at "an appropriate time", they request that the meeting be postponed until further reports are available for discussion and other invitees are in attendance.
I suggested that would not be acceptable at this stage in the proceedings, and asked them to re-consider their position. I am awaiting a response.
Update 9th October / 2: I have requested the OFCOM survey ( for a property in Wood View) and we are waiting for them to contact us to arrange a suitable date & time.
Update 15th October / 1: After asking that the meeting be postponed (see above) the planning department of DDC then, via email, agreed to attend.
I have just received a further email stating that they are now sending, to "represent the planning division", the Director of Environmental Services. Very disappointing.
Update 15th October / 2: Regarding the agreed OFCOM survey, I have now been informed that "..because the suspected cause of interference is an obstruction...", they are not able to carry out a survey. Again, very disappointing, and one does sometimes feel that there is no help out there and one is being passed from pillar to post.
Update 15th October / 3:
Main points from the public meeting of the 15th Oct 2008.
Peter Reynolds - Director of Environmental Services, Derwentside Dist. Council
Tony Scorer - Head of Onshore Wind Development , EDF.
Dennis Garry - Wind Development Project Manager
The following was agreed:
1.0 EDF would arrange, as soon as and as efficiently as possible, to have a technical survey carried out at each of the properties brought to their notice, and report on the most effective solution to mitigate any problems that are identified as being caused by the Wind Farm operation (the rotating blades). Due to the marginal level of Freeview signal now available in east langley park, and the fact that the Wind Farm structures are in line of site with the Pontop Pike - east Langley Park location, this mitigation is likely to take the form of Freesat (non subscription) satellite installations.
No absolute commitment was forthcoming on properties that are not being affected by the above (the rotating blades), but who's Freeview service has nevertheless deteriorated since the Wind Farm was constructed. However, they did agree to look carefully at and consider these cases, but one must consider this as inconclusive, and it could produce a situation where some residents' problems are not rectified.
2.0 Tony Scorer of EDF agreed to discuss with his colleagues the process involved in their EIA submissions nationally with regard to pre-construction activity, to avert any, albeit rare, future Freeview TV reception degradation issues.
3.0 Peter Reynolds of Derwentside District Council, agreed to bring to the attention of the planning department the 'grey' areas in the guidance provided by OFCOM, the BBC etc. to Wind Farm developers when looking at potential Freeview TV reception degradation issues, and how that might affect the planning application / approval process. I also suggested this should be considered at a national level.
Update 18th October: Residents who feel that their Freeview problems are related to the Wind Farm and did not / could not fill out a form at the meeting can now register by telephone; contact is EDF (Margaret Hanson) on 0191 512 5837 (office hours).
Update 3rd November / 1: I'm pleased to report that EDF have indicated that they do not now consider it appropriate to survey every property to ascertain the impact of the Wind Farm development on Freeview (which would explain why only a handful of surveys have been completed). Instead, they are about to embark on a program of FreeSat installations for all complainants. This will start, I understand, w/c 3rd November, and residents will be telephoned by the istallation team to arrange a convenient time / date to complete the installation. PLEASE BEAR WITH EDF regarding this program, as there are many installations to complete. EDF have indicated that they expect to finish, worst case, by 12th December.
I am hoping they can provide a "schedule" so that we can see what progress they expect to make.
Update 3rd November / 2: Two items of interest that, although won't impact on the situation here, may nevertheless make some contribution to preventing similar situations occurring elsewhere.
1.0 I have received a letter from Hilary Armstrong, stating that the case details have been passed to the Department for Communities and Local Government, who publish planning policy guidance documents.
2.0 My technical contact at OFCOM has contacted me and confirmed their intention to update the advice given by them and the BBC regarding the potential impact new building developments (including wind Farms) might have on TV reception. Crucially, they will take into account both terrestrial digital and analogue reception disruption. This should filter through to the consultants who have chosen to ignore the former to- date.
Update 5th November / 1: I spoke with EDF today and they tell me they are busy preparing the work schedule, which I will post on this web site and on the Langley Park WM club notice board as soon as I receive it.
Update 5th November / 2: After the American elections news feast, the press must be anticipating a "slow news day". The Evening Chronicle contacted me proposing to run the Langley Park Wind Farm / Freeview story on Thursday 6th. The Chronicle had been contacted twice, latterly by me in early October to chase up their initial interest when it looked as if we weren't going to achieve the results we wanted from EDF regarding a meeting. I have today referred them to this site for up-to-date information and asked them to ensure that they are aware that a resolution has been agreed with EDF. I met with their photographer to appear in some photographs to be taken of Langley Park and the Wind Power site.
Update 10th November: Freesat installations have now started in Park Close. I understand that at least 10 have been completed today. I am still awaiting the schedule from EDF.
Update 18th November: The Freesat installation teams are "blitzing" the area street by street (which negates the need for a schedule) and with the exception of a few logistical and multi-TV installation issues (which EDF are dealing with), everyone seems happy with EDF's Freesat solution.
(Thanks to Audrey for the kind "Thank you" card she sent to me in appreciation of the effort that's gone into the "campaign", and her resultant new Freesat system!)
Update 19th November: The Freesat installation teams are being hampered by gusty winds in certain streets - this will cause some delays in the short term. The shortage of Freesat boxes has been dealt with and installations are now continueing.
JUST A REMINDER regarding EDF's obligations;