“Only when the public can trust the Government and wind farm developers on noise issues will there be a chance that the public will accept them without a fight ...” (Editorial, Noise Bulletin, Issue 15, Aug/Sept. 2007).
There is every likelihood of wind industry acousticians being commissioned by DECC to produce yet another fudge on the growing problem of wind turbine noise nuisance in order to forestall growing threat of legal action from victims:
DECC intends to appoint acoustics experts to review the evidence on wind turbine amplitude modulation (AM), with a view to providing advice on how appropriate AM thresholds might be set in planning conditions. DECC officials are preparing an Invitation to Tender currently and expect to issue it in the New Year and to appoint a contractor as soon as we are able following the conclusion of the tendering exercise. Copies of the correspondence between my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State and the President of the IOA are available on DECC’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/increasing-the-use-of-low-carbon-technologies/supporting-pages/onshore-wind. 
Yet again, the issue will be considered by acousticians who work for the wind industry with no involvement of clinicians and researchers with expertise in the effects of low frequency noise on the human body, particularly in the areas of the cochlea and sleep medicine.
The Institute of Acoustics (IOC) had raised the issue last year after the subject of Amplitude Modulation (AM) was kicked into the long grass by the IOA and politicians in the 2011 with the Hayes McKenzie Report.
The so-called ‘Den Brook AM condition’, was strongly resisted by the wind industry who succeeded in getting it sidelined in planning cases. A subsequent proposal by RenewableUK, the wind industry trade body, for an AM condition was shown to be defective. Sites with proven problems from AM noise nuisance would have passed the ReUK condition. The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) concluded that, “... the RUK AM condition is manifestly inferior to the Den Brook condition and does not offer to wind farm neighbours any realistic or significant protection against AM disturbance”. 
A letter from the IOA to the Minister last year sketches the sort of fix that is in prospect:
There are no definitive thresholds that are universally accepted to define the level of acceptibility for AM and no amount of research will likely arrive at that point either. It is common practice with the setting of noise limits in other areas to look at dose-response relationships, and the setting of the ‘threshold’ becomes a political decision which accords with current Government Policy based on the number of people affected. A similar approach was taken recently by your department in setting the noise limit for micro-generation technologies and the same approach was used in the setting of wind farm noise limits in ETSU-R-97 itself.
The IOA would therefore strongly urge DECC to consider the matter of the penalty scheme and an acceptable level of AM to work alongswide the IOA’s efforts to define the metric and methodology. this might be achieved through an independent research project looking at all the available evidence, and putting the issue of AM into a policy context to enable a decision to be made.
The incidence of AM is reported to be increasing the number of complaints from onshore wind farms, and anumber of nuisance cases are understood to be currently being progressed through the courts. Without a Government steer on the matter of AM, it is likely that Judges may accept a lower threshold of acceptance than current Government support for onshore may suggest, which could restrict the roll-out of onshore wind in the UK. [Our emphasis].
The IOA would be happy to work closely with your department and any appointed researchers to enable a joined up approach to this task. 
 Wind Power: Noise: Written question - 218570, by Chris Heaton-Harris. Answered by Matthew Hancock, Minister of State, DECC, 6 January, 2015.
 ‘The Efficacy of the RUK AM Condition’, REF, 19 March 2014.
 Letter to Ed Davey from the Chairman of the IOA, 7 August, 2014. On DECC’s Policy, supporting pages: ‘Increasing the use of low-carbon technologies’.
CAPCON Michigan Capitol Confidential, 8 November, 2014.
‘In what appears to be the first of its kind ruling in the United States, the Board of Health in Brown County, Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, has declared a local industrial wind plant to be a human health hazard. The specific facility consists of eight 500-foot high, 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines.
‘The board made its finding with a 4-0 vote (three members were not present) at an Oct. 14 meeting after it had wrestled with health complaints about the wind plant for more than four years. Ultimately, the board’s ruling was based on a year-long survey which documented health complaints and demonstrated that infrasound and low-frequency noise emanating from the turbines was detectable inside homes within a 6.2-mile radius of the industrial wind plant.
‘Jay Tibbetts, a physician and a member of the Brown County Board of Health, said the board based its position that the turbines constitute a health hazard on the weight of evidence.
The Danish farming magazine Maskinbladet  has reported that 1,600 mink were born prematurely at a mink farm in one month, many had deformities, and most were dead on arrival. The lack of eyeballs was the most common malformation. Veterinarians ruled out food and viruses as possible causes. The only change at the farm since last year has been the installation of four massive Vestas V112 wind turbines only 328 metres away.
When the wind turbines first started to operate the animals became aggressive, attacking one another, resulting in many deaths and injuries.
The mink farmer, Kaj Bank Olesen from Vildbjerghas, has appeared before the Danish Parliament’s Environment Committee to give evidence on the effects of the turbines on him, his family and the animals he breeds.
The family has had to leave their home when the noise becomes too much. But the consequences for his mink have been even worse, with animals attacking each other and suffering widespread miscarriages and birth defects, attested to by vets.
This is far from the only example of problems with animals in proximity to large turbines: in Poland, a recent peer-reviewed study on domestic geese concluded that: “Geese from gaggle I gained less weight and had a higher concentration of cortisol in blood, compared to individuals from gaggle II. Lower activity and some disturbing changes in behavior of animals from group I were noted. Results of the study suggest a negative effect of the immediate vicinity of a wind turbine on the stress parameters of geese and their productivity.” .
The wind industry continues to deny that low frequency noise from wind turbines has any adverse effects on animals or humans despite the increasing weight of veterinary and medical evidence to the contrary.
 ‘Tidligere miljøminister vil ændre vindmøllebekendtgørelse’, Maskinbladet, 20 January, 2014.
 Pol J Vet Sci. 2013;16(4):679-86. ‘Preliminary studies on the reaction of growing geese (Anser anser f. domestica) to the proximity of wind turbines’, Mikolajczak J, Borowski S, et al.
The Renewable Energy Foundation  today condemned the new wind turbine noise guidance produced at the Government's request by the Institute of Acoustics. 
The IOA wind turbine noise guide was produced in reponse to a very restricted remit from DECC, which they describe in the following terms: “The terms required us to look at the technical elements of the methodology, but did not allow us to consider the noise limits, which are a matter for Government, or to discuss the potential health effects.”.
Sadly the IoA guidance not only fails to address the major problems of current regulations (the notorious ETSU-R-97) but actually makes things worse.
Major problems include:
Dr John Constable, director of REF, said: “Almost unbelievably, the IoA’s wind farm noise committee report has actually increased the risk of serious noise problems for neighbours to new wind farms, and the risks were already quite unacceptably high.”
Dr Constable continued: “The report may represent current wind industry practice but it is very poor guidance and fails in its duty of care. The government and the acoustics profession should ignore it, as should responsible wind developers who do not wish to antagonise wind farm neighbours.”
Acoustician Mike Stigwood, who is one of the few leading acousticians willing to represent community groups and local authorities opposing wind industry schemes, has written a hard-hitting technical critique of the latest ETSU fudge entitled ‘IOA good practice guide, excess amplitude modulation and the failure of wind farm noise controls’.
This paper is presented in the November/December 2013 issue of Acoustics Bulletin.
It builds on research by the Renewable Energy Foundation.
 Mike Stigwood, MAS consulting, ‘IOA good practice guide, excess amplitude modulation and the failure of wind farm noise controls’, Acoustics Bulletin, November/December 2013, pp. 18-22 (available on Wind Watch website).
MAS Environmental website.
 Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), ‘ A Critique of the IOA Treatment of Background Noise for Wind Farm Noise Assessments’, 2012 (PDF file download).
Telegraph, 2 December 2013.
‘The lobby group for the turbine industry was able to influence the wording of a report produced for the Government on how noise from wind farms should be measured.
‘RenewableUK “raised concerns” with the Department of Energy and Climate Change over independent guidance produced by the Institute of Acoustics which resulted in changes being made.
‘Internal energy department emails released following a freedom of information request show the lobby group met ministry officials, after which it was assured that “the majority of R-UK’s input” was “reflected in the guidance”.
Sounds familiar? See below (‘Officials cover up wind farm noise report’, The Times, 13 December, 2009)
The wind industry is getting increasingly desperate in its efforts to ridicule, marginalise and undermine the growing body of evidence from around the world regarding turbine noise nuisance and adverse health effects caused by low frequency sound. They are losing the battle as the scientific evidence mounts.
A co-operative scientific study at one wind farm with a record of noise problems in Wisconsin found that:
The four investigating firms are of the opinion that enough evidence and hypotheses have been given herein to classify LFN and infrasound as a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the industry. It should be addressed beyond the present practice of showing that wind turbine levels are magnitudes below the threshold of hearing at low frequencies.1
It has been announced that the Environmental Protection Agency in South Australia is to undertake exhaustive research of low frequency noise at the Waterloo wind farm where numbers of residents have reported adverse health effects and some have abandoned properties.2
The investigation will include the measurement of infrasound and low frequency noise, down to 0.25 Hz, inside and outside homes, with “on off” testing. It will require the cooperation and provision of operational data which wind development operators have so far refused to provide to any independent researchers, anywhere in the world.
This follows on a notable peer-reviewed epidemiological survey by Nissenbaum and others in the United States.3
From Denmark to Australia there is evidence of the wind industry and its associates trying to block or hamstring research, or stop the authorities bringing in appropriate health safeguards following on studies, as has happened in the UK,4 and Denmark.5
The Shirley researchers experienced a refusal by the operating company to co-operate by allowing “on off” testing and there was an attempt to ‘edit’ the study by its commissioners to remove some critical comment.
1 The ‘Shirley Report’: ‘A Cooperative Measurement Survey and Analysis of Low Frequency and Infrasound at the Shirley Wind Farm in
Brown County, Wisconsin’, 4, p.7 (PDF file).
2 Australian TV report.
3 Nissenbaum MA, Aramini JJ, Hanning CD. 2012. ‘Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health.’ Noise Health 14:237-43 (PDF file).
4 ‘Officials cover up wind farm noise report’, The Times, 13 December, 2009.
5 ‘Politicians turn a blind eye to the effects of wind turbine noise on 33% of neighbours’ (informal translation of a Danish State Radio Documentary, 19 April, 2012).
From the Inspector’s Report on the ‘Moorsyde’ appeal, recommending refusal:
• The noise limits set out in ETSU-R-97, and in the noise condition suggested by Moorsyde, would be breached from time to time. The Council and the wind farm operator would have to grapple with the complexities of the noise conditions.
• Three of the turbines might need to have their power capped in certain wind conditions to protect nearby residents from noise.
(391, p.60, Report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, by Ruth V MacKenzie BA(Hons) MRTPI, 19 October 2009).
The following facts should be noted:
• the ETSU-R-97 guidelines have now been shown to be seriously compromised (see below) and cannot be regarded as offering “a reasonable degree of protection” by any reasonable, informed person;
• the worst affected properties at ‘Moorsyde’ were over 700 metres from the nearest turbines, there are properties as close as 556 metres to the proposed West Ancroft turbines and proposals all over the UK are being put forward at distances where noise nuisance can almost be guaranteed;
• Scotland recognises the damaging effects of giant wind turbines on residential amenity and, in Planning Policy SPP6, has an established 2 kilometre separation distabnce for projects over 20MW.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe has launched updated Night noise guidelines for Europe.
The guidelines provide ground-breaking evidence on how exposure to night noise can damage people’s health, and recommends guideline levels to protect health. The new limit is an annual average night exposure not exceeding 40 decibels (dB), corresponding to the sound from a quiet street in a residential area. Sleepers that are exposed to higher levels over the year can suffer mild health effects, such as sleep disturbance and insomnia. Long-term average exposure to levels above 55 dB, similar to the noise from a busy street, can trigger elevated blood pressure and heart attacks. One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to such noise levels.
Click here to download the full document (1.8Mb PDF download).
NB These guidelines do not directly address the specific problem of wind turbine noise. Especially with regard to its low frequency componant and the little understood phenomenon of ‘amplitude modulation’.
Looking beyond the technical jargon, it appears to the onlooker that the industry has very little understanding of the interactive and cumulative effects of wind shear, harmonic interaction / sound cumulation from multiple turbines, the strongly rhythmical nature of turbine noise and its psychological effects ( the ‘dripping tap’ effect) and the fact that turbine noise is experienced in rural areas with very low background noise and where the topography can have considerable effects on noise dissemination.
Many experts consider that specific research is needed to investigate these problems. It is also essential that physiologists and clinicians with suitable expertise (e.g. in sleep disorders, psychology and the physiology of the inner ear) are involved, rather than it being left to acousticians with strong wind industry links, as has happened previously.
The Times, December 13, 2009
‘Civil servants have suppressed warnings that wind turbines can generate noise damaging people’s health for several square miles around.
‘The guidance from consultants indicated that the sound level permitted from spinning blades and gearboxes had been set so high — 43 decibels — that local people could be disturbed whenever the wind blew hard. The noise was also thought likely to disrupt sleep.
‘The report said the best way to protect locals was to cut the maximum permitted noise to 38 decibels, or 33 decibels if the machines created discernible “beating” noises as they spun.
‘It has now emerged that officials removed the warnings from the draft report in 2006 by Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP), the consultants. The final version made no mention of them.
‘It means that hundreds of turbines at wind farms in Britain have been allowed to generate much higher levels of noise, sparking protests from people living near them.
The Telegraph, 26 Nov 2009.
‘Noise level regulations for wind turbines are 11 years old and fail to address the impact of new technology that has allowed larger and louder sites, a pressure group has warned.
‘Environmental Protection UK say turbines are now so large that the noise generated by turning blades is affecting more nearby residents.
‘The charity, which campaigns to minimise noise pollution as well as reducing air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases, believes changes in technology are not being reflected in current local government planning guidelines.
‘The government says it is continuing research into the impact of noise from wind turbines.
‘Experts working for Environmental Protection UK say the government guidelines on acceptable noise levels for wind turbines were due for revision 11 years ago and there has been little sign that changes in wind turbine technology is reflected in these rules.
Environmental Protection UK have issued a strong challenge to the claims made by the Housing Minister:
‘Government Spin the Science on Small Renewables’
‘Environmental Protection UK question the announcement yesterday by Housing Minister John Healey that “strong safeguards in relation to noise levels, size and location” are contained in new proposals to give permitted development rights to small renewables. We are particularly astonished that this claim is applied to wind turbines up to 15 metres high and air source heat pumps.
‘The proposal to ‘restrict’ noise levels from turbines to 45 decibels, flies in the face of the advice of experienced specialist practitioners in environmental health and acoustics, and recent World Health Organisation Guidelines published on night time noise and health. Further, claims on the generating potential of these relatively new technologies are exaggerated. Field trials demonstrate that in urban areas they are unlikely to be cost effective, and may even cost money to run. Nuisance research shows that at the noise levels proposed they are 98% likely to cause complaints.
‘“For those keen to be green and cut their energy costs, small wind turbines are not a panacea at this stage of development of the technology. Allowing permitted development is unlikely to be a cost effective solution to securing our energy future, in view of the likelihood of noise and vibration problems, and low generating potential in any but optimum locations. This proposal shows a blatantly cavalier attitude to the facts,” said Philip Mulligan, Chief Executive at Environmental Protection UK.
‘“With proper advice from specialist practitioners on siting and installation, small renewables can be effective. However, field trials of small wind turbines to date demonstrate that permitted development, as proposed, will make a negligible contribution to carbon reduction targets while having high potential to cause annoyance and disturbance that risk undermining the credibility of the technology.”"
‘To quote the Energy Saving Trust, “Wind turbines do work but only when installed properly in an appropriate location”’.
The implementation of ‘presumed consent’ for small turbines stalled with the change in government. It may well be resurrected if Chris Huhne, the Green Gauleiter, remains in post.
It is reported that a High Court action by the Davis family from Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire against the owners and operators of a turbine array which it was alleged had caused them to abandon their home due to noise nuisance has been settled.
See: ‘Secret settlement in wind farm nuisance case’, Spalding Guardian, 30 November 2011.
By Matt Roper, the Daily Mirror, 19 April 2010.
‘A couple who quit their farmhouse thanks to the “deafening roar” of wind turbines are claiming £380,000 damages.
‘Jane and Julian Davis, 45, said they have “lost everything” since eight turbines were built 930 yards away four years ago.
‘They now pay £1,000 a month to rent a home, claiming the swooshing can hit 66 decibels - the limit is 35db - and makes it impossible to sleep. Jane, 54, said: “This is a last resort after years of being ignored. All we are asking is, please stop the noise.”
‘She said their house near Deeping St Nicholas, Lincs, has lost £150,000 in value. In a landmark case, they are suing neighbours and two firms and calling for the wind farm to go.
‘The High Court action could pave the way for other claims with one in five of 255 farms receiving noise complaints.
See below for more on the Davis family’s problems with turbine noise nuisance.
Noise guidance for developers of wind turbine arrays is provided by ETSU-R-97. This was drawn up in 1996 under the aegis of the DTI, which convened a Noise Working Group (NWG) to investigate a group of small wind turbine arrays that were creating noise problems to those living nearby.
The NWG produced ETSU-R-97 — The Assessment and Rating of Noise from Wind Farms, Sept. 1996 — a document providing information and advice to developers and planners on the environmental assessment of noise from wind turbines. The NWG membership was weighted in favour of the wind industry, being composed largely acousticians and engineers employed by the industry.
There is no record of qualified medical or epidemiological experts being consulted to offer guidance on how turbine noise levels might impact on human health.
In 1996 existing wind arrays in Cornwall and Wales were between 30-60 metres high. Today's turbines are 100-150 metres high. The NWG stated in its recommendations that ETSU R 97 might need revisiting and recommended revision within two years, with reviews at regular intervals to accord with changes in wind turbine technology. There is no evidence to show that the DTI, or its successors, has revisited ETSU-R-97 despite both turbines and arrays being dramatically larger than those on which ETSU had been based. Nor has ETSU-R-97 been revised to recognise that World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise (1999) have been materially updated.
This document describes a framework for the measurement of wind farm noise and gives indicative noise levels thought to offer a reasonable degree of protection to wind farm neighbours, without placing unreasonable restrictions on wind farm development or adding unduly to the costs and administration burdens on wind farm developers and local authorities. (Summary S1). [Our emphasis].
‘The assessment and rating of noise from wind farms’ (URN No: 96/1192).
“In January 2004, an article, in the national press, alleged that Low Frequency Noise (LFN) emissions from wind turbines had given rise to health effects to neighbours of three wind farms in Cumbria, North Wales & Cornwall. As a result the then DTI commissioned an independent study to investigate the levels and effects of infrasound and Low Frequency Noise in dwellings neighbouring these three wind farms from which complaints had been received. Of the 126 wind farms operating in the UK, five have been reported low frequency noise problems”. (BIS Website).
Hayes McKenzie, a leading consultancy that frequently acts for the wind industry and which had a major part in the formulation of the ETSU-R-97 standard for the assessment of noise from wind turbine arrays, was commissioned to carry out the study.
The Hayes McKenzie report, ‘The Measurement of Low Frequency Noise at Three UK Wind Farms’ (URN No: 06/1412 - see BIS website) describes an investigation into low frequency noise at neighbouring properties to three different UK wind farms where noise complaints had been made. The authors discount low frequency noise as a significant problem (unlike Danish peer-reviewed research, see below). However, they do state that amplitude modulation, commonly know as ‘blade swish’ noise, can be a problem. Their report concludes that, on occasion, blade swish is disturbing enough to prevent occupants of nearby dwellings from going to sleep although not sufficiently disturbing to wake them if already asleep.
The report authors found that even when the overall noise level inside a bedroom was less than the sleep disturbance threshold proposed in the WHO guidelines, the distinctive noise signature of the wind turbine blade swish attracted the attention of the listener and caused difficulty in returning to sleep.
The report states that the blade swish noise is more extreme for some wind farms and at some properties and particularly at night time. Significantly, the report acknowledges that the magnitude of the ‘swish’ noise is greater than was anticipated in the ETSU-R-97 guidelines and recommends that the issue should be re-visited possibly with a view to including a penalty in any noise condition to take into account blade swish noise. This would effectively lower the permitted noise at neighbouring dwellings.
New evidence released by the Dept. of Energy and Climate Change under a Freedom of Information request shows that Government suppressed a recommendation by Hayes McKenzie to tighten current noise regulations on wind turbines in order to protect local residents from night time noise.
Mr Mike Hulme of the Den Brook Judicial Review Group, a group of local residents opposing a wind turbine development close to their houses in Devon, subsequently submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking to see all draft versions of this study.
The Government, that is the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), refused the request, claiming that it was not in the public interest for these to be released.
Mr Hulme appealed against this decision, and the appeal was upheld by the Information Commissioner. Consequently the Government has been obliged to release earlier drafts of the HMP report.
The drafts reveal that the final published report silently removed earlier recommendations that:
the night time wind turbine noise limit should be reduced from 43dB to 38dB, and,
in the event that the turbine noise has a discernible beating character, the limit should be further reduced to 33dB.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had sought to suppress the drafts, claiming that it was not in the public interest for these to be released. However, the Information Commissioner overruled DECC.
The Hayes McKenzieReport concluded on page 66 that: “... infrasound associated with modern wind turbines is not a source which will result in noise levels which may be injurious to health of a wind farm neighbour”. There is nothing in the report to indicate that the authors of this report have the medical qualifications to make this statement, nor is there any evidence that medical experts were consulted. There is no substantive epidemiological or physiological evidence in the Report to support this conclusion.
The DTI subsequently convened a Noise Working Group (NWG) whose objective was, “to provide clear expert advice and guidance on the issue surrounding Amplitude Modulation of Aerodynamic Noise (AM) raised in the Hayes McKenzie report on Low Frequency Noise (The Measurement of Low Frequency Noise at Three UK Wind Farms, W/45/00656/00/00, URN No. 06/1412).”
‘The NWG will address issues specifically relating to the Hayes McKenzie report:’
(from ‘Notes of Meeting of NWG’, 2 August 2006).
On 1 August 2007, the Energy Minister announced that the Government was parking the AM issue after a superficial, initial investigation by Salford University found that, “although the occurrence of AM cannot be fully predicted, the incidence of it from operational turbines is low.” The statement continued, “Government does not consider there to be a compelling case for more work into AM and will not carry out any further research at this time; however it will continue to keep the issue under review.” (See GNN release).
On 2 August 2007, Dick Bowdler, an acoustician and member of the NWG, resigned from the Noise Working Group. This highly unusual step was taken because, as his letter states:
“I have read the Salford Report and the Government Statement. As a result I feel obliged to resign from the Noise Working Group. The Salford Report says that the aims of this study are to ascertain the prevalence of AM from UK wind farm sites, to try to gain a better understanding of the likely cause, and to establish whether further research into AM is required. This bears little relation to what we asked for which clearly set out in the minutes of the meeting in August 2006. We all knew then (as was recorded in the original notes of the meeting) that complaints concerning wind farm noise are currently the exception rather than the rule. The whole reason for needing the research was that `The trend for larger more sophisticated turbines could lead to an increase in noise from AM'. It was not the intended purpose of the study to establish whether more research was required. We all agreed at the August 2006 meeting that such research was needed. That was precisely the outcome of the meeting. The prime purpose of what eventually became the Salford Report was to identify up to 10 potential sites which could be used to carry out objective noise measurements. The brief for the Salford report, which was never circulated to the NWG, completely ignored the NWG views. Additionally, I find it entirely unacceptable that we are not to be told the names of the wind farms listed in the Salford report. So the only part of the report of any value to assist future research is inaccessible to those of us who would like to progress matters further. Looking at the Government Statement it is clear that the views of the NWG (that research is needed into AM to assist the sustainable design of wind farms in the future) have never been transmitted to government and so the Statement is based on misleading information.”
The Editor of "Noise Bulletin", where Mr Bowdler's letter appeared, commented:
“‘New report eases concerns over wind turbine’ noise trumpets the Government press release, then saying aerodynamic modulation is ‘not an issue for the UK's wind farm fleet’. This conclusion is not justified based on the report, and by halting further research work without transparently monitoring the wind farms subject to complaints will inflame, not ease concern of objectors ... Only when the public can trust the Government and wind farm developers on noise issues will there be a chance that the public will accept them without a fight ...” (Noise Bulletin, Issue 15, Aug/Sept. 2007 page 5).
Until very recently, very few turbine arrays had been built near housing, so there is no great surprise that there are, so far, relatively few sites with reported noise problems. Anyway, government has now washed its hands of the issue, which will no doubt re-surface when noise, and AM in particular, becomes a common issue with increasing numbers of lowland wind turbine installations being built close to housing.
On 27 July 2010, DECC announced that it had commissioned the Hayes Mackenzie Partnership, the wind industry’s favourite acousticians and authors of the AM cover-up to carry out, “a new, independent analysis of matters arising in the consideration of noise impacts in the determination of wind farm planning applications in England.” ... “The project will seek to establish best practice in assessing and rating wind turbine noise by investigating previous planning inspectorate decisions, to ensure that the ETSU-R-97 guidance is applied in a consistent and effective manner. The project will not revisit ETSU itself.” [Our emphasis].
The results of this exercise have been entirely predictable and may be viewed on the DECC website.
We did not need another coat of industry whitewash on the ramshackle and discredited structure that is ETSU-R-97.
In 1996, turbine arrays in Cornwall and Wales were between 30-60 metres high. Today’s turbines are 100-200 metres high and we know a lot more about their adverse noise effects.
The Noise Working Group that first formulated ETSU-R-97 stated in its recommendations that it might need revisiting and recommended revision within two years, with reviews at regular intervals to accord with changes in wind turbine technology. The DTI, and its successors, including DECC, have never properly or independently revisited ETSU-R-97 despite both turbines and arrays being dramatically larger than those on which ETSU had been based. After a token survey, research into the Amplitude Modulation problem was firmly kicked into the long grass, going against undertakings given to the Noise Working Group, the latest review follows the same inglorious fudge.
Nor has ETSU-R-97 been revised to recognise that World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise (1999) have been materially updated.
Yet again, we are seeing the subject of turbine noise addressed solely by wind industry acousticians. Where are the audiologists, sleep medicine clinicians and epidemiologists in all this?
Barbara J Frey, BA, MA and Peter J Hadden, BSc, FRICS have published a paper on the subject: 'Noise radiation from wind turbines installed near homes: effects on health. With an annotated review of the research and related issues.' February, 2007. This presents an interesting survey of noise research and reports on the effects on health, wellbeing and property prices. (PDF download from website).
See also Peter Hadden’s Memorandum to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on The Economics of Renewable Energy.
‘UK court OKs amplitude modulation limits, wind industry scrambles to comply
AcousticEcology.org, 25 Juky 2011.
The UK wind industry is scrambling to respond to a High Court ruling that affirmed the legaltiy of conditions placed on the Den Brook wind farm near Devon, limiting amplitude modulation of wind turbine noise to a level that could be very hard to comply with. After years of pooh-poohing the reports of neighbours who said that the pulsing quality of the turbine noise made it especially hard to live with, including a much-criticized study a few years back that found nearly no AM at UK wind farms, Renewable UK (formerly the British Wind Energy Association) is fast-tracking a far-reaching study of AM, which they hope to complete in just seven months.
The new study, funded by Renewable UK (a trade organization of wind industry companies), aims to develop better models for predicting AM, including assessment of the effects of high turbulance and closely spaced turbines, as well as noise predictions both nearby and at a distance. In addition, they aim to develop a listening test that could inform a possible penalty-assessment approach to dealing with AM noise when it does occur; such an approach, common in many regulations, forces the overall noise level to be lower when AM is present.
After years of claiming there is no need to assess or regulate AM, it appears that the industry has now found itself sufferering the consequences of denying the problem. Instead of working to create regulations that take the issue seriously (whether or not it is common), the industry is now vulnerable to being out of compliance when AM does occur.
Wind turbines are being turned off during periods of high wind in case they become too loud.
The Telegraph, 19 November 2011.
‘Following complaints about the noise of rotating blades from nearby residents, operators have agreed to switch off the machines or reduce their speed when the wind is blowing too strongly.
‘The agreements, which mean the turbines generate less electricity, have been revealed in dossiers from local authorities about their investigations into noise pollution complaints.
‘They show that at Askam wind farm, near Barrow-in Furness, in Cumbria, which comprises seven turbines, a control system was installed to turn off the machines when wind speeds get too high.
‘After complaints about noise from a 12-turbine wind farm on a former RAF base at Lissett, near Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, environmental health officers found that high winds caused the machines to exceed the noise limits laid down in the scheme’s planning conditions.
‘So an arrangement was reached whereby some of the turbines were slowed down when the wind was blowing at certain speeds and from certain directions.
‘Similar action has been taken following complaints over a turbine at Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, and at another at a wind farm at in Skelmonae, near Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
‘The dossiers reveal a total of 269 complaints about noise pollution from wind farms in the last three years.
‘Following 125 of the complaints, the turbine operators concerned took steps to reduce the noise produced by their machines. A further 36 are still being investigated.
‘Most cases were resolved informally, either by an agreement to reduce the machines' output or by fixing faults responsible for the noise.
‘However, one wind farm near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was so loud that the operator was served with an abatement notice to quieten it.
‘The dossiers show that a sixth of new large-scale wind farms built in the past three years have attracted official complaints about noise pollution.
‘Around a quarter of the complaints related to small-scale turbines fitted to schools, hospitals and houses. In several cases, their operators simply switched them off after receiving the complaints.
“We were prepared for some noise from the wind turbines but were surprised how noisy they were.”
“We were very disappointed with the noise from the Wind Turbines when we booked we were not told about them - as we were in a tent there was no escape from the noise!!! ”
“...very close to the camp are a couple of wind turbines that (during the day) did not cause any problems. During the night they were a NIGHTMARE! The droning noise constantly disturbed our sleep and the sleep of other campers.”
“When we arrived there was no wind so they moved very slowly and caused no problem but once a breeze picked up - and it was only a breeze, no real movement in the tents around us, they became very annoying. I live 8 miles from an airport and so am used to regular air traffic noise but this sounded like an aircraft up above contantly. I felt sorry for those in tents as at least I got a break when I went into the caravan. During the morning when the sun came out you had the shadow of the blades going round and round across the site. I found them too annoying in the end to consider returning to this site which is a real shame.”
“lovely site a shame about the wind turbines.”
“Those windmills! Oh dear, what a shame. A once lovely site is now cursed with the woosh woosh, all day, all night!”
“However, big show-stopper for us was the recently-erected Wind Turbines (one on each side of the site) which emitted a constant ’Whoosh..whoosh which drove my wife to despair, as it did to several of the other campers.”
“A well run site completely spoilt by the noise from the wind turbines which, at times, sound like an aircraft taking off continually. Had one really bad night when I had to go for a walk at 3 am to get away from the noise, walked down to Kessingland beach for some peace and quiet.I won't be back, sorry!!”
“we comply with the planning consent”
“... we continue to work with the manufacturer to seek ways of reducing the noise emitted from turbines. If we are able to identify the source of any unexpected noise, then we will mitigate this.
“We would lie [sic!] to assure you that we are in regular contact with the appropriate authorities, including Waveney District planning, environmental health and your local MP Peter Aldous. In addition we are working with technical experts to deal with your concerns.
‘IF the Government had set up a working group to inquire into the health effects of smoking, would it be conceivable that the chairman of that group should be the paid employee of a tobacco company?
‘I do not believe so. Yet, that is exactly what the Government has appeared to do in setting up a working group to examine the possible health effects of the gigantic commercial wind turbines for which growing numbers of planning applications are pending in Torridge.’
‘Low frequency noise from "aerodynamic modulation" in the ever larger machines that commercial developers aspire to build is a source of acute public interest and concern. However, I believe the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's Noise Working Group is chaired by a senior employee on secondment from a commercial wind turbine developer whose salary is paid by her employer, and includes several other members who represent the interests of major wind industry companies.’
‘That group recently reported to the Government that there were no health concerns about the thousands of onshore wind turbines it plans to build in the English countryside. One of the group, an independent noise expert, immediately resigned, complaining that the problem had been downplayed and misrepresented. All this comes at a time when the Government plans to remove the power of decision from local communities and councils on major projects such as commercial wind turbines and power stations in its Planning Bill now before parliament, and, in an unpublicised amendment inserted just before the recess, to confer legal immunity on developers should the installations cause adverse health effects.’
-------------------------(See full article: North Devon Journal 14 August, 2008).
‘The research analyses data from 48 small and large wind turbines. The results show that large wind turbines (2.3‑3.6 MW) emit relatively more low frequency noise than small wind turbines (up to 2MW). As the noise moves away from the turbine, the low frequency component becomes yet more pronounced because the air’s absorption reduces the high frequencies more than the low.
‘If one examines the A-weighted sound pressure outdoors at relevant separation distances, low frequency noise comprises a substantial proportion of the noise. There is therefore no doubt that the low frequency part of the sound spectrum is important for neighbours’ experience of noise nuisance from large wind turbines.
‘The low frequency noise can also cause a nuisance indoors, depending, naturally, on sound insulation. If the outdoor sound pressure of the total noise is in the region of the maximum permitted level for Denmark there is a risk that a substantial proportion of neighbours will have problems with low frequency noise, even indoors.
(Professor Henrik Møller and Christian Sejer Pedersen of the Acoustics Department, The Institute for Electronic Systems, University of Aalborg, Denmark. Our translation.)
Leading academic acoustician and expert on low frequency noise from turbines Professor Henrik Møller of Aalborg University has criticised the Danish authorities for the way they carried out noise measurements. As a result, he says, the new regulations for wind farm noise are not in line with industrial noise standards.
Henrik Møller and his team of acousticians had been consulted by DEPA, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. But their recommendations have been ignored: “We had many objections to the proposal, but none of these were accommodated in the final version”
Email to EPAW dated 5 February, 2012:
Dear Mark Duchamp
The Danish 20 dB(A) limit for low-frequency noise cannot be compared to normal noise limits because
- it is an indoor limit and not an outdoor limit like usual limits for wind turbine noise
- the limit applies to the limited frequency range of 10-160 Hz – only frequencies in that range are included – the level of the full frequency range may be higher
Without an acoustical background, it may be difficult to understand how much 20 dB(A) 10-160 Hz noise is, but the limit is the same as for industrial noise in Denmark, and it is in the same order of magnitude as the limits in most other countries that have low-frequency limits (the limit may be defined in completely different ways). Most people will easily hear a noise at that level, and some will find it annoying, in particular if it goes on round the clock.
At low frequencies, the perceived intensity, the loudness, increases more steeply above threshold than at higher frequencies. This means that when the level is a few decibels above the 20 dB limit, the consequences are more severe, than if a limit for higher frequencies is exceeded by the same amount. Few people would probably accept 25 dB(A) in their home at night and hardly anyone would accept 30 dB(A). Therefore, measurements must be accurate.
In the new Danish statutory order for wind turbines, the noise is not measured but calculated. This need not be a problem, if the calculations are correct. But they are not.
The main problem is the sound insulation used to obtain indoor levels. The statutory order gives values to be used in the calculation, and these values are based on measurements in 26 Danish houses. Unfortunately, wrong measurements.
Sound at low frequencies varies a lot in a room, and according to the Danish rules for industrial noise, the level should – briefly explained – be measured, where the annoyed person finds it loudest. The sound insulation must be measured the same way in order to be applicable for calculations of indoor levels from the outdoor level. But it was not. The indoor measurement positions were simply chosen randomly and not selected for the high level. Thus the obtained values of sound insulation are too high – by several decibels.
Furthermore, statistical sound insulation values were chosen (from the wrong data) so that 33% of the houses have poorer sound insulation, meaning that the limit may be exceeded in 33% of the cases.
And finally, the calculated values may exceed the limit by a 2 dB uncertainty value. Measured levels from industrial sources are not allowed to exceed the limit.
All these errors sum up to probably not far from 10 dB, which means that the limit is suddenly not 20 but rather 30 dB(A). But the rules are claimed to give the same protection as for industrial sources, which is simply not true.
I hope this helps your understanding.
Professor, Section of Acoustics
Department of Electronic Systems
Professor Henrik Møller, who has been a persistent thorn in the side of the Danish wind industry and its supporters in government has been removed from his post at Aalborg University. The University states that Professor Møller has been sacked because he has not brought enough income into the department.
The Danish press and critics of the wind industry have pointed out that Jan Hylleberg, CEO of the Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA), has repeatedly written to Henrik Møller’s Head of Faculty, Eskild Holm Nielsen, to complain that he has publically criticised the wind industry and the government’s Department of the Environment for manipulating figures on low frequency noise from wind turbines.
By Margareta Pagano, Independent on Sunday, 2 August 2009.
‘Living too close to wind turbines can cause heart disease, tinnitus, vertigo, panic attacks, migraines and sleep deprivation, according to groundbreaking research to be published later this year by an American doctor.
‘Dr Nina Pierpont, a leading New York paediatrician, has been studying the symptoms displayed by people living near wind turbines in the US, the UK, Italy, Ireland and Canada for more than five years. Her findings have led her to confirm what she has identified as a new health risk, wind turbine syndrome (WTS). This is the disruption or abnormal stimulation of the inner ear's vestibular system by turbine infrasound and low-frequency noise, the most distinctive feature of which is a group of symptoms which she calls visceral vibratory vestibular disturbance, or VVVD. They cause problems ranging from internal pulsation, quivering, nervousness, fear, a compulsion to flee, chest tightness and tachycardia – increased heart rate. Turbine noise can also trigger nightmares and other disorders in children as well as harm cognitive development in the young, she claims. However, Dr Pierpont also makes it clear that not all people living close to turbines are susceptible.
‘Until now, the Government and the wind companies have denied any health risks associated with the powerful noises and vibrations emitted by wind turbines. Acoustic engineers working for the wind energy companies and the Government say that aerodynamic noise produced by turbines pose no risk to health, a view endorsed recently by acousticians at Salford University. They have argued that earlier claims by Dr Pierpont are "imaginary" and are likely to argue that her latest findings are based on a sample too small to be authoritative.
‘At the heart of Dr Pierpont’s findings is that humans are affected by low-frequency noise and vibrations from wind turbines through their ear bones, rather like fish and other amphibians. That humans have the same sensitivity as fish is based on new discoveries made by scientists at Manchester University and New South Wales last year. This, she claims, overturns the medical orthodoxy of the past 70 years on which acousticians working for wind farms are using to base their noise measurements. “It has been gospel among acousticians for years that if a person can't hear a sound, it's too weak for it to be detected or registered by any other part of the body,” she said. “But this is no longer true. Humans can hear through the bones. This is amazing. It would be heretical if it hadn't been shown in a well-conducted experiment.”
‘In the UK, Dr Christopher Hanning, founder of the British Sleep Society, who has also backed her research, said: “Dr Pierpont's detailed recording of the harm caused by wind turbine noise will lay firm foundations for future research. It should be required reading for all planners considering wind farms. Like so many earlier medical pioneers exposing the weaknesses of current orthodoxy, Dr Pierpont has been subject to much denigration and criticism and ... it is tribute to her strength of character and conviction that this important book is going to reach publication.”
‘Dr Pierpont’s thesis, which is to be published in October by K-Selected Books, has been peer reviewed and includes an endorsement from Professor Lord May, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government. Lord May describes her research as “impressive, interesting and important”.
‘Her new material about the impact of turbine noise on health will be of concern to the Government given its plans for about 4,000 new wind turbines across the country. Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has made wind power a central part of his new green policy to encourage renewable energy sources. Another 3,000 are planned off-shore.
‘Drawing on the early work of Dr Amanda Harry, a British GP in Portsmouth who had been alerted by her patients to the potential health risk, Dr Pierpont gathered together 10 further families from around the world who were living near large wind turbines, giving her a cluster of 38 people, from infants to age 75, to explore the pathophysiology of WTS for the case series. Eight of the 10 families she analysed for the study have now moved away from their homes.
‘In a rare interview, Dr Pierpont, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told The Independent on Sunday: “There is no doubt that my clinical research shows that the infrasonic to ultrasonic noise and vibrations emitted by wind turbines cause the symptoms which I am calling wind turbine syndrome. There are about 12 different health problems associated with WTS and these range from tachycardia, sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, nausea, visual blurring, panic attacks with sensations of internal quivering to more general irritability.”
‘“The wind industry will try to discredit me and disparage me, but I can cope with that. This is not unlike the tobacco industry dismissing health issues from smoking. The wind industry, however, is not composed of clinicians, nor is it made up of people suffering from wind turbines.” The IoS has a copy of the confidential manuscript which is exhaustive in its research protocol and detailed case series, drawing on the work of leading otolaryngologists and neurotologists – ear, nose and throat clinical specialists.
Read the full article: Independent on Sunday, 2 August 2009.
See Dr Nina Pierpoint’s website.
Australian radio interview with Dr Pierpont, 18 March 2010.
See also: ‘Sleep disturbance and wind turbine noise’ June 2009. Dr Christopher Hanning, BSc, MB, BS, MRCS, LRCP, FRCA, MD, Honorary Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, based at Leicester General Hospital, having retired in September 2007 as Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine. This report was produced for Stop Swinford Wind Farm Action Group (SSWFAG). (PDF download).
See also: ‘Acoustic Ecology Institute Fact Sheet: Wind Energy Noise Impacts’ June 2009. Acoustic Ecology Institute (US). (PDF download).
A peer-reviewed paper by Alec N. Salt of the Cochlear Fluids Research Laboratory, Washington University in St. Louis and Aland Timothy E. Hullar, ‘Responses of the Ear to Low Frequency Sounds, Infrasound and Wind Turbines’, supports the concerns raised by Nina Pierpoint about the physiological effects of low frequency sound from wind turbines.
Some of the points made by the paper include:
The outer hair cells of the cochlea are stimulated by low frequency sounds at levels much LOWER than the inner hair cells. It is likely that the OHC are stimulated in some people by infrasounds at the levels generated by wind turbines. Thus the infrasound component of wind turbine noise may be the cause of the increased annoyance of some individuals to wind turbine noise. It also has to be considered that if there are health effects in some individuals, then the infrasound component of wind turbine noise could be involved.
Stimulation of the OHC occurs at infrasound levels substantially below the levels that are heard. We calculate that stimulation of the OHC occurs at approximately 30-40 dB below sensation level depending on frequency. The concept that sounds that you cannot hear can have no influence on the inner ear is incorrect. Infrasounds that cannot be heard DO influence inner ear function.
The practice of A-weighting measurements of wind turbine noise underestimates the influence of this noise on the inner ear.
Some clinical conditions (endolymphatic hydrops and “third window” pathologies, such as superior canal dehiscence) make the ear hypersensitive to infrasound stimulation. In both hydrops and SCC dehiscence it is possible to have the condition and be asymptomatic. This leads to the possibility that some “apparently normal” (asymptomatic) individuals may be hypersensitive to infrasound.
See website with links to full paper and abstract.
Michael A. Nissenbaum, MD, has undertaken research, with a control group, involving residents near the Mars Hill, Maine, turbine array. This scheme has caused many noise complaints. In Dr Nissenbaum’s survey, 22 out of about 33 adults who live within 3500 feet of a ridgeline arrangement of 28 1.5 megawatt wind turbines were evaluated to date, and compared with 28 people of otherwise similar age and occupation living about 3 miles away.
Here is what was found (preliminary work cited here):
“82% of study subjects reported new or worsened chronic sleep disturbances, versus 3% in the control group. 36% reported new chronic headaches vs 3% in the control group. 55% reported ‘stress’ versus none in the control group, and 82% persistent anger versus none in the people living 3 miles away. Fully a third of the study subjects had new or worsened depression, with none in the control group. 95% of the study subjects perceived reduced quality of life, versus 0% in the control group. Underlining these findings, there were 25 new prescription medications offered to the study subjects, of which 15 were accepted, compared to 4 new or increased prescriptions in the control group. The prescriptions ranged from antihypertensives and antidepressants to anti migraine medications.”
(Downloadable from: Society for Wind Vigilance website).
Environmental Protection UK (formerly NSCA), the environmental protection charity supported by pollution control professionals, has responded forcefully to an uncritical report on onshore wind from the RSPB. They highlight the problems caused by turbine noise pollution:
Environmental Protection UK welcome the report released today [24 March 2009] by RSPB, which states that the use of bird sensitivity maps will ensure that wind power and wildlife can co-exist. We are, however, extremely concerned that some news reporting of this has stated that the only obstacle to onshore wind development is now ‘Nimbyism’.
There is increasing evidence that if siting of turbines is not properly considered, noise impacts can make homes uninhabitable. With larger turbines now the norm, the more than 10 year old guidance used to predict noise from these is being found by acousticians not to be appropriate. It is increasingly clear that exceptional care must be taken in siting of turbines to avoid major impacts on communities, as well as wildlife.
“While Environmental Protection UK are wholeheartedly in favour of renewable energy development, this must not be at the expense of avoidable impacts on neighbouring residents.” said Mary Stevens, Policy Officer at Environmental Protection UK “To say that Nimbyism is now the only barrier to development is a gross oversimplification.”
(See Environmental Protection UK website for full article and references).
Within weeks of the Government’s Energy Review proposing that planning controls be relaxed to speed up the introduction of wind farms, a new report by the Noise Association reveals that badly-sited wind turbines can cause real noise problems for local communities.
In compiling its report, the Noise Association carried out a comprehensive review of the research done into wind farm noise. The report states that wind turbine noise can be a particular problem in rural areas, where many of the wind farms are sited, because of low background noise levels.
John Stewart, the author of the report, said, “It would be a mistake to see this as an anti-wind farm report. But there is a real danger that, in the enthusiasm to embrace clean technology, legitimate concerns about noise are being brushed aside.”
The report recommends that:
as a general rule turbines should not be sited within a mile of where people live
the official government guidelines for the siting of wind farms be revised to take account of the more intrusive nature of the noise in areas where the overall background noise is low
there is a clear and public recognition by the Wind Power Industry, which has tended to dismiss noise as an issue, that wind farms can cause real noise problems for some people. The report argues that this could open the door to “constructive discussion”
The UK Noise Association, 'Location, Location, Location', 26 July 2006.
A while back, we featured a ‘You Tube’ video of flicker and noise from turbines at a German wind park near Emden. This video was so successful in illustrating the noise and strobe shadow effects from large modern turbines that its pro-wind author felt obliged to remove it! This typifies the attitude of the industry and its friends.
‘Moorsyde’ developer Your Energy removed the following quotation from their website when Moorsyde Action Group started highlighting it:
In accordance with our site selection philosophy we are looking for sites in the semi rural/industrial areas near towns and cities ….. near other infrastructure such as commercial or industrial developments, roads and railways to help mitigate the limited environmental impacts arising from the development. By focussing development near towns or cities or close to other infrastructure we intend to minimise the chance of any noise nuisance [our emphasis].
(Your Energy Website, 2004-2005.)
We should point out that the ‘Moorsyde’ site area is not “semi-rural” or “industrial”. In fact it is in one of the most tranquil lowland areas of Northumberland, according to the CPRE (see website).
PS We keep being told that ‘flicker’ is just nimby scare-mongering. Have a look at this Dutch video (before they remove it!): Shadow flicker effects from a wind turbine.
See what a family in DeKalb, Illinois have to say about living with noise and flicker; the include a number of videos: DeKalb Blog.
North Devon Gazette, 21 November, 2014.
‘Noise levels at the Fullabrook wind farm are still exceeding acceptable levels, according to a study.
‘At seven of the eight sites tested between May 2013 and October 2014, the noise levels recorded from the turbines were above the limits set within the planning consent for the development.
‘North Devon Council’s chief executive has set ESB International, the company which runs the 22-turbine wind farm at West Down, a deadline of December 19 to respond to the findings with a plan of action.
‘Similar tests were undertaken in 2012, when four of twelve locations failed to hit the required standard.
‘Environmental protection officer Andy Cole said those figures did not measure ‘tonal noise’ – the low frequency mechanical ‘hum’ noise generated by the turbine, rather than the ‘swoosh’ of the blades – which has now also been measured.
‘Rewiring work was done in an attempt to alleviate the noise at that time, but now it has been confirmed that noise levels are above those set out by the planning inspector when permission to built the farm was granted in 2007.
‘North Devon Council’s head of environmental health and housing, Jeremy Mann, said: “It’s very important for us to regulate this appropriately.
Scotsman, 1 April, 2014.
‘A wind farm has been served with an Asbo-style notice over claims the turbines are too noisy for nearby homeowners to bear.
‘Operators of the 260-foot high structures have been warned they face prosecution unless they take action to address a thumping noise coming from the blades’ rotation that nearby residents say is driving them to distraction.
‘The triple turbine development in Buchan, Aberdeenshire, by Stuartfield Wind Power, was installed by landowner Albert Howie, who was a local councillor at the time.
‘The firm has denied the turbines make a loud noise and claimed it amounted to an “occasional whooshing”.
News North Wales, 20 March, 2014.
‘A headteacher has promised to remove a wind turbine neighbours say is too noisy if no solution can be found to the problem.
‘Gareth Roberts, headteacher of Ysgol Rhos Helyg in Rhosesmor, wrote a letter to nearby residents after they launched a petition to remove the 20-metre wind turbine they say has ruined their peace.
‘Mr Roberts told the Leader he wanted to maintain good relationships with the local community and conceded the turbine would have to go if the issue cannot be resolved.
‘“We get on very well with our neighbours and have a good relationship with the community,” he said.
‘“But the noise from the turbine is sometimes unacceptable and it is something we are sorry about.
‘“We are not happy about the noise ourselves and we are working to find a solution as soon as possible.”
‘The 10kw turbine was installed in the grounds of the primary school last summer, 20 metres away from the building, with the aim of making energy savings of £3,000 per year.
‘Following its installation Mr Roberts had claimed the turbine “doesn’t make any sound at all” but people living near to Flintshire’s highest school say that has not been the case.
‘And Mr Roberts admitted: “The noise the turbine makes when the wind is strong wasn’t what the data suggested it would be.”
Bolton News, 3 July, 2013.
‘A SCHOOL wind turbine is blighting the lives of residents and should be pulled down, a meeting has been told.
‘Residents in Amber Grove, Westhoughton, say they have suffered from a catalogue of problems since the turbine was put up at The Gates Primary School.
‘They say the turbine is an eyesore and issues include noise, poor television reception, bad phone signal and reflections from the blades likened to a strobe light.
Western Morning News, 23 November, 2012.
‘Britain’s [correction: England’s, Ed.]biggest onshore wind farm, in North Devon, could be operating well above permitted noise levels in every location where readings were taken, a new report claims.
‘Residents have called on North Devon District Council to shut down the facility at Fullabrook after a report commissioned by the authority said all 22 turbines could be exceeding set limits.
BBC News, 16 October, 2012.
‘New noise tests are being carried out on a Suffolk wind turbine where a statutory nuisance was recorded.
‘Campaigners in Kessingland said they had made 240 complaints about the noise at one of the village’s two turbines.
Gazette, 6 September, 2012.
‘A SCHOOL in Wotton has been forced to remove its controversial wind turbine after receiving a noise abatement notice.
‘Blue Coat Primary School's prized 15-metre turbine was taken down in August after standing unused for a number of months.
‘Robert Weaver, environmental health officer at Stroud District Council, said: “As soon as it was operational, it was giving out unacceptable levels of noise at quite a lot of dwellings nearby, as well as some quite far away”.
Diss Express [Norfolk], 6 May, 2012
‘Residents in Palgrave say work to decrease the noise from the village community centre’s controversial wind turbine has not worked.
‘The turbine, which provides the Upper Rose Lane centre with electricity, was switched off for two months while the community centre worked with Mid Suffolk District Council, turbine manufacturers GAIA and the installation company to reduce the noise emitted by the 24-metre high turbine.
North Devon Journal, 17 November, 2011.
‘An online survey set up by North Devon MP Nick Harvey has shown nearly 80 per cent of those living near to Fullabrook Wind Farm are affected by the noise of the turbines.
‘Mr Harvey created the survey at the beginning of October after meeting people who were angry at how much the country’s largest onshore wind farm was affecting their everyday lives.
‘Within a month over 60 people filled out the survey.
‘The results confirmed television aerials and mobile phone signals have also been affected as well as people being disturbed by the effects of the turbines’ flicker.
Euan Duguid, The Sunday Post, 2 October 2011. (Quoted on Wind Watch).
‘Lives in a remote Scottish glen have been ruined by the “sensory torture” of a nearby wind farm.
‘And affected families say that they are paying for Scotland’s rush for green energy with their health.
‘Residents living in what was once dubbed the “secret valley” — previously unspoiled countryside three miles inland from Girvan — say the constant pounding of the Hadyard Hill wind farm is making it impossible to get a decent night’s sleep. In waking hours, however, bleary-eyed locals are being subjected to shadow flicker — an intermittent shadow cast over their homes when the sun is behind the rotating blades of the 53-turbine farm.
North Devon Journal, 22 September, 2011.
‘People living near the new Fullabrook wind farm claim their lives are being “destroyed” by the noise generated from each of the 22 turbines.
‘The residents, some who live only 400m from the structures, say they can no longer sleep as a result of the intrusive sound.
‘But despite numerous registered complaints about the noise at Fullabrook, North Devon Council (NDC) is unable to act until the whole site is complete and commissioned, which may not be for another three weeks.
‘Once the site is commissioned officers from the council will visit Fullabrook to monitor the sound levels in order to ascertain whether they meet the requirements set out by the Secretary of State.
‘Jeremy Mann, head of environmental health and housing services at NDC said: “I can confirm that a number of the residents near to the wind farm have now expressed concern regarding the noise levels.
‘“The operator has strict noise limits imposed on their operation and is required to give evidence to the council of their compliance with these controls when the site is no longer working intermittently.” [True, but misleading in view of the fact that low frequency noise is not measured under ETSU-R-97 and that Fullaford was not subject to Amplitude Modulation conditions now applied to Den Brook, in Devon].
‘In the meantime several residents feel they are trapped living with the noise because if they tried to move house few people would be interested in buying a property next to a wind turbine.
‘Nick Williams lives at Fullabrook itself with six of the turbines near his house. He claimed the wind farm had destroyed the area he lives in as well as his life.
‘He said: “It is like having tumble dryers in my bedroom and so I mostly have to sleep on the sofa in my front room – why should I be forced out of my bed?”
See also: ‘Never mind the panorama – listen to the turbines’ noise’, North Devon Journal, 29 October, 2011.
Ellon Times, 28 July, 2011.
‘An Auchnagatt man has appealed for local authority action, after a year and six months of waiting for his complaint against a neighbouring wind farm to be resolved.
‘Paul Travis lives near wind turbines at Skelmonae. He says that on a windy day the sound of the machines is clearly audible inside his home, making life a misery for himself and wife Irene.
Northern Times, 9 June, 2011.
‘The local authority has forced Scottish and Southern Electricity to shut down a Sutherland wind farm after the company breached planning controls by failing to deal with excessive noise from the development.
‘People living close to the Achany wind farm near Rosehall are claiming their lives are being made a misery by the constant noise, and are angry that their complaints are being ignored.
‘In an unprecedented move, Highland Council issued a temporary stop notice on the 23-turbine wind farm at 3pm on Monday.
‘Highland Council’s principal planner Gordon Moonie confirmed yesterday (Thursday) that it was the first time the authority had issued a notice of this type.
‘He said he was unaware of any other council taking similar action.
‘“This temporary stop notice was introduced under a 2006 Act and it hasn't been used very often, but it is quite an effective way of dealing with a breach of planning control. In a sense it affects the company where it hurts - in their pocket,” he said.
‘Mr Moonie revealed that the problems with Achany had been ongoing for about a year, with constant complaints to planners about noise.
‘“We were getting complaints from the local people and the community and we weren't getting any action from SSE, so we decided that the best way forward was to serve this temporary stop notice,” he said.
‘“It means that the windfarm has to cease operating and we can then get round the table and agree a way forward that is in everyone's interest.”
‘According to the stop notice, SSE breached planning controls by failing to provide a scheme for mitigating noise levels prior to the development coming on stream.
‘They also failed to comply with a request to measure noise levels at two local properties - Rosehall Cottage and a home at Durcha - when specifically asked to do so following complaints from the householders.
North Devon Gazette, 8 June, 2011.
‘A TORRINGTON couple are selling their home and business following the erection of a wind farm in a field opposite their bungalow.
‘Patricia and Arthur Poulton say they are being kept awake at night by the noise from a trio of giant turbines less than 500 metres from their home at Higher Darracott.
Peterborough evening Telegraph, 17 November 2008
‘FEARS over the health of his pregnant partner and unborn child is forcing a man to demand a wind turbine standing a stone’s throw from his family’s home is removed. Andrew Randall lives in King’s Dyke, Whittlesey, with his pregnant partner Rachel Barford and one-year-old daughter Aimee, just 100 yards from the towering machine.
‘He said the constant noise from the turning blades is causing sleepless nights and stress for Rachel, who is four months pregnant.
‘Mr Randall (23) said: “Rachel’s stressed all the time and she can't cope with the lack of sleep. I’m concerned about the health of the baby.”
“The noise sounds like a van running outside your house and this is going on 24/7. At about 8pm when the traffic dies down, everyone wants a nice bit of peace and quiet, but you've got this thing whirring away.”
‘Rachel (19) said she is fed up with the constant noise and is angry that it is affecting Aimee.
‘She said: “She’s waking up during the night, every night, and it’s not fair on her.”
‘She added: “We couldn’t open the windows in the summer because it was that bad, and it’s affecting our Sky TV reception. We shouldn’t have to put up with it.”
‘A West Cumbrian man claims his life has been made a total misery because of a windfarm just half a mile from his home.
‘Ron Williams, of The Swallows, Bothel, has revealed that he is taking sleeping pills and suffering mental anguish because of the Wharrels Hill turbines.
‘The 73-year-old is now urging people living near two proposed windfarm sites to do all they can to oppose the applications.
‘Mr Williams’s house is just 833 metres away from the Wharrels Hills windfarm.
‘He said that the low frequency noise had the worst impact. He said: “The swush, swush, swush as each blade breaks the flow of the wind past the tower, obviously three times per revolution is extremely debilitating. The affect is worse at nights when ambient noise level from traffic on the A595 is low.”
‘Mr Williams said his GP had prescribed him sleeping pills.
‘Mr Williams said: “In my diary I have recorded, since December 3 until February 26, that on 19 nights I have needed to resort to medication.”
‘“During that time we were away for five nights and the mills did not operate for seven days due to very high winds. That is an average of taking medication twice a week.”
‘Mr Williams said that windfarm operators claimed that turbine noise levels were within legal limits but he questioned whether the effects of this low frequency noise had been thoroughly investigated.
‘He added: “One must remember that such noise was used as a form of torture during the last war and is said to be currently used by the Americans.”
‘There has been a substantial visual impact, too. Because the entire living area of his house faces the wind turbines the visual background rotation is very distracting he said.
‘At certain angles sunlight hits the blades which reflects rays through his lounge.
‘Mr Williams said: “This very disturbing flickering stroboscopic effect is such that both blinds and curtain need to be drawn closed, even on a warm sunny day. And even then this flickering can be seen as dark shadows moving over the window area.”
‘Mr Williams said it was even worse on a sunny winter’s day when the sun was low in the sky and dark silhouettes flashed through the rooms.
‘He said that in the USA no windfarm could be built within a mile of a house. [This is incorrect, MAG] His house is 833m from the Wharrels Hill windfarm.
‘But British regulations didn’t even require that he be told that a windfarm was planned when he bought his house in 2002.
‘He claimed evidence indicated that houses in the vicinity of turbines lost 25 to 30 per cent of their value.
‘And he added: “The same reports suggests that properties close to a turbine could be unsaleable. I wonder what the definition of close is. Could it be 833m?”’
(See full article: Times & Star (Cumbria), 03 March 2008).
‘On a sunny spring morning, Deeping St Nicholas provides a perfect snapshot of English country life. The only buildings that break the flat horizon of the Lincolnshire fens are silver-grey church spires and neat red-brick farmhouses, around which are clustered barns and silos. A covey of wood pigeons clap their wings as they take off from the black, loamy, fertile soil striped with green lines of oilseed rape. And then you hear it. “Whoompf ... whoompf ... whoompf ...”
‘Like the sound of an approaching train that never comes, the thumps that break the still air are not overpoweringly loud - at about 65 decibels, they're the level of a lorry going by at 30 miles an hour 100 yards away.
‘But what is so menacing is the regularity and the scope of the noise, which feels like a giant heartbeat shaking the earth.
‘When you see the culprits - the eight mammoth wind turbines installed just outside Deeping St Nicholas last May - you’re actually surprised that the noise isn’t louder.
‘These aren’t the little propellers that David Cameron nails to his roof to warm his cocoa and heat his children’s baths [now removed!]. They’re veritable behemoths - 100 metres high, as tall as Big Ben’s tower.
‘The turbines hove into view from the Peterborough to Deeping St Nicholas road several miles before you reach the little village, and they dominate the skies from here to the North Sea, 15 miles away.
‘Five of these monsters are set in a straight line heading away from Deeping St Nicholas. And if you trace that line onwards for half-a-mile on the map, your finger slams slap-bang into the middle of Grays Farm.
‘And there, in the farmhouse sitting room, with its wood-burning stove and its bookshelves jammed with family photos, are Julian and Jane Davis - wan, sleepless and very angry indeed.
‘Three generations of the Davis family have farmed these 300 acres of tenanted land for wheat, sugarbeet, beans, oilseed rape and - ironically, given the green glow of windpower - the new generation of biofuel crops. Mr Davis’s elderly parents live in a bungalow a few yards away along a gravel track.
‘For the first time in a decade, agricultural prices are looking rosy - and so were the Davises’ finances, until recently. But now their chances of enjoying a comfortable future are in jeopardy because of the whirring brutes next door, erected on land owned by two neighbouring farmers.
‘The Davises’ three-bedroom house, valued at £170,000 before the turbines arrived, is now essentially worthless because no one will grant a mortgage on a house blighted by noise pollution.
‘For the past eight months, the Davises have lain awake at night, staring at the ceiling, driven to distraction by the thump of the blades and feeling the whole house resonating around them.
‘During the odd moment of silence when the wind is in the right direction, they lie awake, still, dreading the inevitable return of the whoompfs.
‘Ever since the Davises were first woken from their sleep three days after the turbines were installed, they have kept a log of the noise. Of those 243 days, 231 have been disturbed.
‘Sometimes, the noise has been so bad that they have fled the house for friends’ sofas, and once for the comfort of the local Travelodge. It is on the busy Helpringham roundabout but, for the first time in weeks, they slept through until 7.20am.
‘Noise generated by a constant flow of traffic is easier to ignore than a repetitive thump that seems to go right through the body. “It’s just that little bit faster than the noise of a heartbeat,” says Mr Davis, aged 42. “So your body is constantly racing to catch up.”
‘As well as the thump-thumpthump - which makes the television flicker - there is a low-level hum from the electric motor housed in the turbines’ main shaft, which gets the blades going and controls the mechanism’s air-conditioning.
‘This noise often mutates into what the Davises call the WD-40 noise - a grating sound similar to that produced by an engine that needs oiling.
‘“It drives you mad,” says Mr Davis. “Your whole body becomes sensitive to it. It draws you to it. Your mind is constantly looking for the noise. I can be farming half a mile away or watching telly, and then suddenly you’ll hear it. It’s destroyed our lives.”
‘Things have now become so bad that the Davises have been forced to rent out what they call a ‘sleeping house’ in the village for £600 a month.
‘Now, every night at around 10pm, they take a look at the weather and decide if they should abandon ship for the evening. The noise is particularly irksome if the wind comes from the south along the line of the turbines, whipping them up in unison, so their individual noises are harmonised and amplified.
‘The list of disasters goes on and on, all recorded in the Davises’ scrupulously kept logbook. Last July, reads the book, “we tried to have a BBQ and had to go inside due to noise and vibration - felt by guests also. Difficult to get to sleep. Wind SSE, SSW.
‘“Whoosh - yes. Pulse - yes. Hum - yes. We are so tired today that the simplest things - following a recipe, assembling a cupboard - seem impossible. Everyone very tired and totally exhausted. This is not living any more.”
‘At the moment, there are more than 120 applications pending all over the country to erect windfarms close to houses - ranging from plans for just a pair of turbines to great clumps of 80 whirring away on the Humberhead Levels in Yorkshire.
‘If these applications go through, the number of windfarms in the country will double - even though the jury is still out on the effectiveness of windpower, which is completely dependent on the whim of the weather.
‘Meanwhile, the complaints keep pouring in, particularly from rural beauty spots: from Bears Down in North Cornwall to Askham in Cumbria, prospective neighbours of mega-turbines are up in arms.
‘Of the 126 windfarms erected in Britain so far - most of which are far from human habitation - 5 per cent have engendered complaints about the overwhelming noise.
‘The next tranche of building is likely to attract far more outrage because the power companies are simply running out of wilderness.
‘As for the Davises, they don’t even have the consolation that the turbines are providing power for their own home.
‘“They’re making electricity for other people”, says Jane. “One night, our power was hit by a lightning strike. So we had the worst of both worlds - nothing working inside the house, and then that noise going on and on outside. Whoompf ... whoompf ... whoompf.”’
(By Harry Mount, Daily Mail, 10th March 2007. See full article).
‘Jane and Julian Davis and daughter Emily had been moving between their home and a “safe house” in Spalding [Lincolnshire] on a daily basis whenever they found noise from the Deeping St Nicholas wind farm unbearable at night.
‘Now they say they cannot go through another summer of interrupted sleep and are leaving the family home to live long term at a rented house until the situation improves.
‘Mrs Davis said: “We have been living a transitory lifestyle, lugging bags backwards and forwards each day.
‘“We can’t go back to that.
‘“You just get to the point where you have to regain some control over your life.”
‘At 10pm each night they would look out of the window to check on the wind direction.
‘If it was directly behind the row of turbines then they say that a phenomenon known as aerodynamic modulation would take hold, amplifying the existing noise and low frequency vibration and causing sleepless nights.
‘Now acoustic experts can move into the empty house to set up a laboratory to measure the noise as part of an ongoing investigation by DEFRA and the DTI.
‘Since testing at the house last year acknowledged problems, the number of wind farms in the country affected by similar problems has risen from just five to 15.
(See Lincolnshire Free Press, 29 May 2007, for full article).
Jane and Julian Davis, who have been forced to move from their house by windfarm noise, have now had their loss of amenity and loss in value of their home acknowledged by a Valuation Tribunal which lowered their Council Tax banding in recognition of:
‘Significant detrimental effect’
‘Nuisance real, not imagined’
‘Potential sale price affected’
See BBC TV News piece: ‘Wind farm blights farmhouse’.
The Davis family are, unfortunately, far from alone in their misery. Even brand new turbines are causing problems:
‘A FAMILY living near a part-constructed wind farm is experiencing the same problems that plagued the Davises at Deeping St Nicholas. Seven of the 13 turbines planned for Bicker Fen are up and working but neighbouring couple Steve and Lorraine Rashleigh are horrified by the noise.’
‘Mr Rashleigh, of North Drove, is upset because he was assured there would be no noise pollution. He said: “They’re not all up yet and we can hear noise like an old steam train in the distance 24 hours a day. The turbines are as close as they can be to us. We can’t have windows open.”’
(See full story in Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, 12 August, 2008).
There are now hundreds of websites with personal testimonies from people who have been deceived by the wind industry and who are living with the effects of giant wind turbines on their health, wellbeing and property values.
We would particularly recommend the ‘Better Plan’ (Wisconsin, USA), Wind Concerns Ontario (Canada) websites. Both have numerous links to reports, publications, together with personal testimonies, written and on visual media.
Ludington Daily News, 13 September, 2013
‘Consumers Energy will have to come up with a plan to mitigate noise from some of its 56 turbines in Lake Winds Energy Park, following a decision Thursday night by the Mason County Planning Commission that the turbines in question at four testing sites have violated the 45 decibel maximum noise standard set forth in the special land use permit it issued allowing the 100 megawatt wind farm to be built in Riverton and Summit Townships.
Oregon Live, 9 August, 2013
‘A Morrow County man is seeking $10 million in damages from a wind-energy company, alleging that it has operated a wind-turbine project consistently above permissible noise levels set by the state for more than four years.
‘The noise from Invenergy's Willow Creek project has caused physical and emotional distress for Daniel Brian Williams, as well as interrupted his sleep and reduced the value of his property, the federal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Pendleton alleges. The noise eventually drove out Williams who moved last year from the 209-acre ranch near Heppner where he has lived since 1997, according to a press release from his law firm.
‘Barbara Ashbee and Dennis Lormand lived 457 metres from an industrial wind turbine in Amaranth, Ont. for seven months before the wind company bought them out of their home. Despite signing a non-disclosure agreement, Ashbee is sharing her story in hopes of convincing the province to put a stop on wind energy development.’
Grimsby Lincoln News, 6 June, 2013.
‘Barbara Ashbee’s former home sits vacant. Nearby, the blades of wind turbines cut through the air, creating power with each turn.
‘She and her husband Dennis Lormand had planned to retire in the two-bedroom bungalow they purchased in 2005. The couple knew a developer was planning to erect a wind farm in the area. What they didn’t realize, was how close to the turbines their home would be.
‘They never thought the turbines would be the reason they left what was to be a home to retire in.
Aftenbladet, 21 February, 2013.
‘The government rejects specific limits for low-frequency noise from wind turbines.
‘A number of residents nearest to the wind farm on Høg-Jæren are struggling with poor sleep, headaches, and other complaints.
‘They believe the cause is the constant swishing sound and turbine roar from the wind turbines put into operation in 2011.
‘For a long time, they have been hoping that the government would introduce requirements for low frequency noise from wind turbines. These have been in vain.
Niagara this Week, 14 February, 2013.
‘Documents released through a Freedom of Information request from an Orangeville resident reveal the government was aware of adverse health effects caused by industrial wind turbines as far back as 2006.
‘In the released document, ministry officials report “complaints of adverse health effects by area residents are for the most part justified.
‘“MOE Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainant’s [sic] residences and have confirmed that despite the noise emissions apparently complying with the applicable standard ... that the noise emissions are in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes,” reads the document, written by provincial officer Gary Tomlinson.
‘According to the ministry, to develop the guidelines for noise limits, ministry scientists and engineers consulted with local community members and noise experts including representatives from major acoustical consulting firms. At the time of the Melancthon project, there were no minimum setback distances, only a provincial noise guideline of 40 decibels, which was maintained in the Act.
‘The documents state that “at least two families have moved out of their homes due to noise impacts” and that the MOE was aware of “at least six cases where the wind developer bought out resident’s [sic] homes to address and silence their ongoing concerns.”
‘Tomlinson writes, “reasonable people do not leave their homes to sleep elsewhere for frivolous reasons.”
Wisconsin State Journal, 4 January, 2013.
‘When it comes to wind farms, it may be the sound you can't hear that drives you to distraction, according to a report released this week that is pitting environmental groups against one another.
‘The study of noise levels around the Shirley Wind Farm in Brown County detected largely inaudible, low-frequency sound inside three nearby houses. But researchers found that only in the home closest to the turbines could it be correlated with sound coming from outside the house, according to the report released Monday.
‘The study concluded that between the low-frequency sound and the nausea, dizziness, headaches, ear pressure and other maladies reported by neighbors “enough evidence and hypotheses have been given herein to classify (low-frequency noise) as a serious issue, possibly affecting the future of the industry.”
Burlington Free Press, 6 November, 2012.
‘Thirty-three residents of Albany and Lowell have complained to the state about “horrendous noise” last weekend from the commercial wind turbines newly erected atop Lowell Mountain.
‘“It sounded like a jet engine,” said Barbara Stone, who lives off Vermont 14 about 2.5 miles from the mountain. She said the noise was somewhat less obtrusive inside her home but, “it was obnoxious to have an unwanted sound in your house.”
News-Tribune, 1 February, 2012.
(Ongoing noise problems with 23 turbine site).
Oregon Public Broadcasting, 10 January, 2012
‘In a draft report, Oregon's Public Health Division acknowledges that noise from wind turbine blades may cause health problems among nearby homeowners. But the agency does not intend to take action against the burgeoning wind power industry.
‘Complaints from sleep-deprived neighbors and uncertainty among government officials prompted the re-examination of wind energy. A team of investigators from the Oregon Public Health Division reviewed case studies and held field hearings near some major wind farms.
‘Principal investigator Jae Douglas says while the evidence isn’t exactly “rock solid”, the team found reason to take complaints about health impacts from turbine noise seriously.
‘“There could be a problem,” says Douglas. “At certain levels, certain equipment could be producing levels (of noise) that are troubling and difficult for people.”
CBC News, 22 September, 2011.
‘Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment is logging hundreds of health complaints over the province’s 900 wind turbines but has downplayed the problem, according to internal ministry documents obtained by CBC News.
‘According to 1,000 pages of internal government emails, reports and memos released under Ontario’s Freedom of Information Act, the government scrambled to figure out how to monitor and control noise pollution.
Windpower Monthly, 24 June, 2011.
‘AUSTRALIA: A parliamentary inquiry into the social and economic impacts of wind farms has concluded that local government noise standards should take into account the impact of low frequency noise and vibrations from turbines.
Full details available on the Parliament of Australia, Senate website.
A political backlash over wind policy threatens the provincial government in Ontario, Canada:
Ottawa Citizen, 21 May, 2011.
‘When Monica Elmes and her husband Neil bought their 35-hectare farm near Ridgetown in southwestern Ontario 15 years ago, the rural peace and serenity was the main attraction. “It was like heaven,” she says.
‘They put their hearts and souls into renovating the old farmhouse. “We did that thinking we’d never have to consider leaving.”
‘But that was before a 100-megawatt wind farm began operating next door in December. Forty-four turbines, each more than 400 feet tall, now surround her paradisical farm on three sides. The nearest is about 1.5 kilometres from her house.
‘“It sucks,” says Elmes. “The noise is, at times, huge.” Sometimes it sounds like a pulsing jet engine. At other times, it’s a constant rumble, like an endless freight train passing. Neighbours tell her it’s like living near an airport.
‘“The range of noise is unbelievable, and it’s all so completely different from what you’re used to that you just stop whatever you’re doing,” Elmes says. “I used to love my neighbourhood. I don’t anymore.”
‘Elmes is not alone. Fertilized by generous subsidies in the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act, industrial wind turbines are sprouting like dandelions across the province’s rural landscape, finding willing hosts in farmers and other property owners eager to earn some money by leasing their land.
‘There are 914 turbines provincewide, theoretically capable of generating up to 1,636 megawatts of electricity.
‘The province already has signed contracts with wind companies that will roughly double that number. And it has received applications for a further 3,000 or so turbines, with an installed capacity of 6,672 megawatts, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
‘Within the foreseeable future, in short, close to 5,000 wind turbines could blanket rural Ontario.
‘Most health concerns are related to the noise the turbines make — particularly “infrasound,” a low-frequency vibration below the normal range of human hearing. Some who live near turbines report disrupted sleep, headaches, nausea, tinnitus and dizziness.
‘That said, the health impact of turbines has yet to be conclusively demonstrated. In a May 2010 report, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, found that scientific evidence to date “does not demonstrate a direct causal link between wind turbine noise and adverse health effects.”
‘But Dr. Hazel Lynn, medical officer of health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit, reached a different conclusion in a report in January. It’s clear, she found, that many people have been “dramatically impacted by the noise and proximity of wind farms. To dismiss all these people as eccentric, unusual or hyper-sensitive social outliers does a disservice to constructive public discourse.”
‘Not all people exposed to wind turbines suffer physical symptoms, Lynn said in an interview. But a certain percentage do. “That’s pretty consistent across the world. It’s the same complaints everywhere. And that’s really rare unless there’s some real reason for it.”
‘More research is required, says Lynn. But that’s hampered by non-disclosure agreements imposed on leaseholders by wind companies, including clauses that forbid them from talking about problems. [Our emphasis].
Dublin People, 18 May, 2011.
‘ANGRY residents living in the vicinity of five wind turbines are pleading with their local authority to find a solution to the noise emanating from them, which they claim is affecting their quality of life. Residents on Hole-in-the-Wall Road, Donaghmede, say they have had their sleep disturbed due to the “whirring” sound of the turbines, which are located in nearby Father Collins Park. They are now pleading with Dublin City Council to address the problem.’
Wind Concerns Ontario, 27 April 2011.
‘Suncor and Acciona executives quietly bought out residents experiencing health problems.
‘“If there are no health effects from Industrial Wind Turbines as their proponents claim, then why would wind plant operators buy the homes of wind victims?”.
The Australian, 5 March 2011.
‘WIND turbines are closing in on four generations of the Quinn family who still live at Mt Bryan in South Australia's picturesque and productive Mt Lofty Ranges.
‘Rosemary Quinn, 74, says she spends her nights locked inside the 1900s stone house she has occupied for 55 years. She shuts the windows and sets the ceiling fan on high to cover the noise of the wind turbines 2km away.
‘Quinn’s son Bill and his wife Jenny are about to gamble their 200ha property in a Federal Court challenge to the expansion plans of wind farm developer AGL.
‘Bill Quinn’s daughter Deb, 32, who works for businesses that profit from the wind farm developments, is worried about the future of her daughter, Jacqueline, and what long-term exposure to nearby wind turbines may mean.
‘The Quinns are not alone.
‘They are part of an increasingly vocal army of people in rural settlements who believe they have become collateral damage in Australia’s rush to embrace wind as an alternative energy to combat climate change.
The Australian, 17 February 2011-
‘Dreaming of building a house and farming the land, Julie Quaft and her husband, Mark, bought a quiet 16ha property 100km north of Adelaide six years ago.
‘Since then, a wind farm has been built next to her house, which she said had not only robbed her of her dreams, but affected her health.
“It’s made things very hard for me because I can't sleep,” Mrs Quaft said. “It sounds like a huge jet engine rumbling on the hill.”
‘The wind farm in Waterloo, near Clare, 100km north of Adelaide, began operating in October, but will be opened today by Mike Rann, amid criticism from the divided country community.
‘While many farmers have supported the project -- particularly those earning an income from turbines built on their land -- others have claimed to have suffered significant health effects.
Manawatu Standard, 22 October 2010.
‘A Manawatu wind farm is facing court action amid lingering doubt it is complying with noise limits.
‘After receiving hundreds of complaints about noise from Te Rere Hau wind farm on the Tararua Range for more than a year, Palmerston North City Council has applied to the Environment Court for stricter rules and better sound monitoring.
Wisconsin state Journal, 15 August, 2010.
‘ST. CLOUD, Wis. — Elizabeth Ebertz loves her garden, but the 67-year-old grandmother doesn’t work in it much anymore.
‘The small vegetable patch, which has produced onions, carrots and tomatoes for many family dinners, sits behind her home, in a little valley, about a half-mile from a dozen 400-foot-tall wind turbines.
‘The structures are part of the Blue Sky Green Field Wind Energy Center in northeastern Fond du Lac County, one of the state’s largest wind farms, capable of producing energy for about 36,000 homes.
‘Unfortunately, said Ebertz, the turbines also produce enough noise to chase her from the garden — and most nights, disturb her sleep.
‘“Sometimes it sounds like a racetrack, or a plane landing,” she said. “You wouldn’t believe how loud it gets.”
‘Our home in rural DeKalb County, IL is where we wanted to stay for good. We have put so much into our home to make it a place where we would love to live and raise our children, and unfortunately we are being forced to live differently. We have been bullied by a large industrial wind company (NextEra Energy, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light (FPL) and sold-out by the DeKalb County Board. FPL told residents that these wind turbines only "sound like a refrigerator." Well, we have found that this is not the case. Often times our yard sounds like an airport. We hear and feel the low frequency sound on our property as well as in our home. We are bothered by the noise, whistling, contant swirling movement, and shadow flicker. Complaining is not something that our family is known for doing and we teach our children to look for the positive aspects of life, but this has gone too far with the turbines. Someone needs to speak up. These industrial wind turbines should not be built close to homes. They should be at least a mile away to avoid these issues. We have 13 within a mile. The closest 2 are 1,400 feet away.’ (DeKalb Blog)
Highly recommended: see the comparison of the developer’s lies with video evidence of the reality.
The Australian. 22 August, 2009
‘FOR 35 years, Noel and Janine Dean lived on a small western Victorian farm, where they raised crops, cattle and three children.
‘They planned to spend the rest of their lives on that lush, green plot of land, but that would change three years ago, when an executive driving a red BMW approached the gates of their property, wound down his window and asked: “You got anything against wind farms?”
‘“As long as they’re not noisy I don’t,” replied Mr Dean, who had no objection to his Waubra neighbours -- most of them struggling farmers -- earning tens of thousands of dollars a year leasing their pastures to Spanish-based renewable energy company Acciona.
‘Three months ago the first of 128 turbines started turning and almost instantly Mr Dean became sick. He started waking with headaches, initially dull but, over time, sharp and debilitating.
‘“I was waking up two days in a row with headaches, I’d have to take Panadol but they’d be gone by dinner time,” he said. “When the wind is blowing north I got a thumping headache, like someone belted me over the head with a plank of wood and I didn’t know whether to go to the hospital or what to do. You couldn’t really work.”
‘His wife also began experiencing an inexplicable malaise. At first she put her nausea, sleeplessness and uneasiness down to a new diet. Then she thought it might be menopause. It was only after the 57-year-old couple travelled to their other property, in Donald, in northern Victoria, and instantly felt well again, that they wondered whether the turbines were churning away at their health.
‘Now the couple have packed up and moved permanently to nearby Ballarat. They want the energy companies and policy-makers to stop and consider the possible health effects of wind farms before meandering lines of turbines start popping up across the countryside to meet the government’s 2020 renewable energy target endorsed by the Senate this week. In Waubra alone, a further 60 turbines are flagged for instalment.
‘US doctor Nina Pierpont has coined the term ‘wind-turbine syndrome’ for a raft of symptoms, including insomnia, headaches, dizziness, nausea and depression, experienced by people living in close proximity to wind farms. The problems are said to be caused by constant exposure to low-frequency vibrations and inaudible sound pressure, as well as the constant flicker of light generated by the spinning blades.
‘To better understand the noises and vibrations being generated by the wind farm, Mr Dean purchased a decibel, or sound pressure, reader. In consultation with Graeme Hood, an engineer with the University of Ballarat, Mr Dean conducted tests over several days in his bedroom.
‘When he measured the sound pressure for audible noise the wind turbines registered a mere 20 decibels, equivalent to the sound of a whisper or the rustle of leaves. But when Mr Dean set the reader on another frequency, measuring audible and inaudible noises, he said the sound pressure from the turbines registered between 70 and 80 decibels, akin to being within proximity of a vacuum cleaner or power drill.
‘Now Mr Hood is undertaking a series of control tests of his own to determine more clearly how much sound pressure the wind turbines are creating in Waubra. “There is a possibility they (the turbines) are generating frequencies below audible tones,” Mr Hood said. “Many people say that if you can’t hear it, you’re not affected by it, but other people say things like infrasound -- or inaudible noise -- can resonate in body cavities and cause other types of problems.”
‘In Waubra, it is not just the Deans who are experiencing worrying symptoms since the turbines began spinning. Chef Trish Godfrey ploughed her superannuation into a 4ha block at Waubra nine years ago. Like the Deans, she was paid a visit by the same executive who asked her if she would oppose a wind farm.
‘“We anticipated that there would be about 15 turbines around us, and that we could plant trees to screen them. All of the farmers around us wanted the wind farm and we didn’t want to argue,” she said.
‘Now, as Ms Godfrey prepares food for delivery from her kitchen inside her dream home, she looks out on 65 turbines that surround her on all flanks. She is convinced her health is suffering. “It feels like I have a head-cold coming the whole time. It’s like motion sickness that never goes away. Some days it’s worse than others. I am a very energetic person and by mid-afternoon all I want to do is sleep,” she said.
‘Ms Godfrey is devastated that the value of her property -- now, as she describes, in the eye of an industrial estate -- would have dropped through the floor. “We have no quality of life and who would want to buy our house now? What was to be our superannuation has now gone,” she said, sobbing.
‘Neighbour Maggie Reid, whose blood pressure has soared in the past three months, said the wind farm has been a sorely divisive venture for the community.
‘“It’s split the community into the haves and the have-nots. You try to raise your concerns and all you hear is, ‘You’re just jealous you don’t have them’,” Ms Reid said.’
See documentary: ‘Electricity Nightmares’.
Update: ‘Turbines declared a nasty neighbour as secret buyout is revealed’, Sunday Herald Sun, 30 January, 2011.
In a complaint filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Ann and Jason Wirtz argue the 86-turbine Forward Energy Wind Center cost them their home and their alpaca-breeding business and created health problems for the family.
The project went online in 2008, the family found it impossible to sell their home and were forced to abandon it and their business in 2009.
(See: filed complaint - PDF file)
Portland Herald Press, January 24, 2010.
‘VINALHAVEN - Cheryl Lindgren was excited when the three wind turbines down the road began turning in November, but within days her excitement turned to disbelief. The sound at her house, a half-mile or so away, wasn’t what she had expected. As she sat reading in her quiet living room, she could detect a repetitive “whump, whump” coming from outside.
‘“I can feel this sound,” she recalled thinking. “It’s going right through me. I thought, ‘Is this what’s it’s going to be like for the rest of my life?’”
‘Dedicated two months ago with great fanfare, the Fox Islands Wind Project is producing plenty of power, but also, a sense of shock among some neighbors. They say the noise, which varies with wind speed and direction, ranges from mildly annoying to so intrusive that it disturbs their sleep. And they say they lament losing the subtle silence they cherish living in the middle of Penobscot Bay -- the muffled crash of surf on the ledges and the whisper of falling snow.
‘The folks living around North Haven Road aren’t anti-wind activists. Lindgren and her husband, Art, supported the project as members of the local electric co-op.
‘But now the Lindgrens are discovering what residents in other communities, including Mars Hill and Freedom, have learned: When large wind turbines are erected, some people living near them will find their lives disrupted.
‘State of Maine finds Fox Island Wind Turbines in violation of noise standard’
By Fox Island Wind Neighbors [IWA], September 10, 2010
The board of Fox Island Electric Cooperative and the project manager, Harvard Business School professor George Baker, repeatedly claimed to the Vinalhaven community that the wind turbine facility is operating according to state noise standards, denying the significant distress experienced by neighbors.
After months of data collection and analysis, the State of Maine agrees with the neighbors of the turbine farm on Vinalhaven: Fox Island Wind is in violation of state noise standard of 45 dbA for nighttime operation.
Ouest-France, 7 December 2009.
A French court at Rennes has ordered the operators of a wind farm to shut turbines down at night to prevent noise nuisance to local residents.
Metro Detroit, Nov. 24, 2009.
LANSING - Dozens of angry people showed up at a public meeting Monday to complain to the Public Service Commission about how their lives have been changed for the worse by annoying wind turbines, and to recommend that if the state plans thousands more, they should be built as far as possible from homes.
Some neighbors of 78 turbines in the Thumb area said they are constantly disturbed by vibrations they can feel inside their bedrooms, the inability to sleep and a persistent hum that can’t be drowned out by earplugs or masked with background noise.
“I am the collateral damage,” said Mary Nowak of Ubly, where a wind farm opened a year ago. Nowak said three giant turbines behind her house have led to pounding sounds she can’t escape.
The East Oregonian, 3 March, 2009.
‘Dan Williams has a home on a bluff above Willow Creek, about 10 miles south of the Columbia River. Two years ago, he could look out his windows, or sit on his deck, and see one of the best views in the world. Rolling hills stretched in all directions and, below, Willow Creek gently meandered between green pastures.
‘Now Williams is ready to pack up and move. When he looks out his window, he sees a forest of wind towers. Behind his home, about a half mile away, another six turbines sit idle. Williams fears the day they start rotating, because, often, the sound of turbines already roars through his house like a freight train at top speed.
‘“It's like a jet airplane that never takes off,” said Sherry Eaton, another neighbor of the Willow Creek project. Eaton and her husband, Michael, are in despair over the wind project, which they say has ruined their chances for a peaceful life in the valley.
Simcoe Reformer, Ontario, Canada, 15 July 2010.
‘The company that owns the wind farm in the west end of Norfolk says it will undertake an infrasound study in the Clear Creek area to determine if its turbines generate low-level frequencies that nearby residents insist are sickening them.
‘“We anticipate the study will be done this summer,” David Timm, vice-president strategic affairs for International Power, told Norfolk council on Tuesday night.
‘The findings will be made available to the public, he added.
‘Scientific evidence so far shows no link between turbines and illnesses in people who live near them, Timm said.
‘But his company, which recently bought out the former owners PowerGen, wants to do the study anyway because of complaints from a number of people living near a cluster of turbines in the Clear Creek area, he said.
‘“We take noise complaints seriously and we investigate them,” Timm said.
‘Over the past year, residents who live near the turbines have insisted the vibrations do exist and are ruining their lives. They say they suffer from headaches and especially sleeplessness.
‘Some have moved out of their homes and were present at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
‘Stephana Johnston, the most well-known of the residents, addressed council again on the matter and said things have become so bad residents are simply abandoning their homes.
‘Of 140 homes in her area, 40 are either abandoned, vacant, or up for sale, she said.
‘Johnston challenged some of Timm’s statements. “There’s been no scientific studies on the impact of human beings surrounded by wind turbines,” said Johnston, who has resorted to sleeping in a trailer at her son’s home near Langton. “Nobody’s looking at the effects these wind turbines have on us.”
‘Johnston and two other residents at the meeting followed Timm outside the council room and pleaded with him to get his company to do something.
‘“I can’t stay there,” said Tracy Whitworth, a school teacher who moved into a temporary home on May 1 to get away from the turbines. “If I stay there, I will die.
‘“I can’t sell my home. What do I do? How do I survive?”
‘Johnston told Timm living near the turbines amounts to a form of “torture.”’
Daniel and Carolyn d’Entremont and their six children abandoned the family home (pictured), where their ancestors have lived since the 1870s, on Feb. 21, 2006, because of the effects of seventeen 120m turbines on the health of the family. They have been unable to sell or let the property since.
This is a twelve-month diary (January 2007 through December 2007) meticulously kept by Gail Mair, who lives with her husband Walter in Tuscany, Italy. Gail (fluent in English, German, and Italian) and Walter (a native of Italy) bought this piece of property some years ago, and in October 2006 they moved into the modest house they had built. It was to be their retirement home.
As they were finishing construction of their new home, the Spanish wind company Gamesa was finishing up building its windfarm in their neighborhood. In November 2006, a month after Gail and Walter had their house-warming party, the turbines were turned on.
“The entries speak for themselves. On re-reading what we’ve been through this year it sounds like someone’s worst nightmare — and so it has been. The idea that someone, somewhere has made a lot of money by effectively dispossessing us, doesn’t bear thinking about, but it happens all the time, all over the world … ”
(Download from Wind watch website).
Denki Shimbun, 25 January 2010.
‘TOKYO, JAPAN --The Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE) intends to embark on its first survey ever of possible health impairment caused by wind power generation in fiscal 2010. The reason is that residents in the vicinity of wind turbines have complained of ill physical effects due to low-frequency sound emitted when the turbines turn. The MOE is going to consign execution of a fact-finding survey to a research institute. The survey results will provide the basis for studies to determine countermeasures by a newly established committee of experts.
‘The MOE is openly offering the survey job to research institutes and has thus far received applications from three. The survey will begin in fiscal 2010 and continue for a period of four years at most. It will cover wind farm facilities across the country and examine items such as the derivation of noise and low-frequency sound as well as the complaints, if any, from local residents.’
“Residents living near wind turbines are increasingly complaining of headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other ailments, sparking fears that the new energy source could pose a risk to public health. Although the cause of the problem remains unclear, the Environment Ministry is investigating the possibility that low frequency sounds produced by the turbines are to blame.”
Asahi Shimbun, 5 February, 2009.
‘Residents living near wind turbines are increasingly complaining of headaches, dizziness, insomnia and other ailments, sparking fears that the new energy source could pose a risk to public health.’
‘Although the cause of the problem remains unclear, the Environment Ministry is investigating the possibility that low frequency sounds produced by the turbines are to blame.’
‘The ministry is concerned that reports of ill health could spread as more wind turbines are built near residential areas.’
‘Tsuyoshi Okawa’s family fell ill in January 2007 soon after wind turbines began operating at Gumihara wind farm, about 350 meters from their home in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture.’
‘The 40-year-old says they began to lose feeling in parts of their bodies, suffered bouts of dizziness, and were unable to sleep properly.’
‘When they spent time away from the house, the symptoms quickly dissipated. But as soon as they returned, they would flare up again.’
‘At the family’s request, a group of acoustics experts conducted noise level tests and found that low frequency sounds were causing vibrations throughout the house.’
‘Although they advised the Okawa family that those sounds could not adversely affect their health, the family decided to rent an apartment farther away where they could go to sleep each night.’
‘Some local residents have dubbed the ailments “wind turbine diseases”.’
‘Low frequency sounds, which measure 100 hertz or less, are difficult for humans to hear. They are typically produced by air-conditioners and factory boilers. For years, people living within the vicinity of such equipment have complained of similar illnesses.’
‘So far, more than 70 people living near wind turbines have reported ill health. They include residents in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture; Higashi-Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture; Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture; and Minami-Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture.’
‘In Toyohashi, where one company already operates a wind turbine, Chubu Electric Power Co. ran into stiff opposition from local residents to its plan to build 13 wind turbines. Residents say the proposed construction site is too close to homes.’
‘The electric power company, based in Nagoya, was eventually forced to freeze the plan.’
‘“As there are no safety standards on low frequency sounds, we cannot obtain the understanding of local residents,” an official explained.’
‘Full-scale construction of wind turbines in Japan started in the late 1990s and quickly increased, as concern over global warming shifted international attention toward environmentally friendly energy sources. By the end of fiscal 2007, Japan had 1,409 wind turbines.’
‘The ministry is now studying international data showing a potential link between wind turbines and health problems in surrounding areas to determine a plan of action for Japan. It has also started measuring low frequency sounds around some wind farms.’
‘Tomohiro Shishime, who heads the ministry's Office of Odor, Noise and Vibration, said: “From a scientific point of view, the causes of the health problems have not become clear yet. So we can’t create (safety) standards (on low frequency sounds) now.”’
‘According to Izumi Ushiyama, professor of engineering at the Ashikaga Institute of Technology in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, complaints about the ill-effects of low frequency sounds are more common in Japan than in the United States or Europe because the country is small and densely populated.’
‘Huge wind turbines also dominate the landscape, obstructing views and making local residents feel boxed in, he said.’
‘“It is important for companies (planning to construct wind turbines) to announce their plans in early stages and obtain proper understanding from local residents,” he said, adding, “The government should also tackle the issue positively.”’
Asahi Shimbun, 15 May, 2007.
‘Residents here have complained that noise from newly installed wind turbines perched atop a ridge of the Sadamisaki Peninsula has been rattling their homes and plaguing them with sleepless nights.
‘Misaki Wind Power Co., which operates the Misaki Wind Park, has been forced to stop nighttime operations of four of its 20 wind turbines. Considering the business vantage, the company wants to keep all 20 turbines running 24/7.
‘But residents living near the rackety turbines are demanding their dismantling or a relocation of operations.
‘According to the residents, since the turbines began turning in December, they have been tormented by the booming sounds from the generator and the swooshing of the fan blades.
‘The noise is enough to drown out the audio from their television sets.
‘Some said they could not sleep at night while others complained of health problems due to the racket.
‘According to a town official, nighttime operations for three of the four wind turbines were stopped from March 1, and the fourth stopped nighttime operations 10 days later.
“When I checked the noise level with a sound measuring device, it recorded a high of 60 decibels. The average noise level exceeded 50 decibels. That’s the noise level of an airport runway, or a Shinkansen bullet train,” said Yasuhisa Oiwa, 44, whose home is near a wind turbine. “The company says it wants to go fully operational but we just can’t allow that. We have asked that the wind turbine be relocated.”
'Noise complaints related to wind farms are cropping up in other places, including wind turbines set up by another public-private joint venture company in Awajishima island in Hyogo Prefecture.
3News.co.nz, 4 Aug 2009.
‘West Wind, Meridian's wind farm near Wellington, was opened by the Prime Minister in April. Since then, the company's been dealing with complaints from people living in the Makara Valley.
‘Neighbours of the wind farm say they were told by Meridian that they wouldn't hear the turbines, but the locals say they hear them most days and most nights and it's constant torture.
‘One resident has now spent $15,000 double glazing his windows, while others are now simply moving out to escape the noise.’
The Dominion Post, 25 November 2009.
‘Makara residents are lodging about 100 complaints a month over a Meridian Energy wind farm, leading the company to look at ways to make the turbines quieter.
‘Residents say they are kept up at night and forced to leave their homes in the day when the noise gets too unbearable.
CBC News, 2 April, 2007.
‘Noise from the new wind farm at East Point on P.E.I. is loud enough that some some residents of Elmira say it wakes them up in the middle of the night.
‘“It’s something like a washing machine when the clothes get off to one side. It goes thump, thump, thump. It’s similar to that. Some people say it’s like a jet engine,” said Elmira resident Dwayne Bailey, who lives about one kilometre away from the turbines.
The Island's newest wind farm began producing electricity late last year.
While there have been no previous complaints about turbine noise from other wind farms, the turbines at East Point are the largest yet installed for commercial purposes. The blades of the 10 turbines cover a 90-metre span, making each turbine the height of a 30-storey building. The 30-megawatt farm produces enough power for about 12,000 homes.
‘Wayne McQuarrie of the P.E.I. Energy Corporation wouldn't agree to a full interview, but did say he’s aware of the issue and is looking into it.
‘But the people living nearby want more action.
‘“We can't get anybody to come up and help us,” said Bailey.
‘“Do some tests or studies. Something. Anything. Just get somebody to get up to talk to us.”
‘Bailey said if nothing’s done, he and his family will move.’
Low-frequency noise from the wind turbines at the Eastern Kings Wind Farm has forced two families to move. Kevin and Sheila Bailey, and their son and daughter-in-law Dwaine and Dodi Bailey, left Elmira seven months ago and moved to nearby communities.
Problems started a year ago when the turbines began operating. The family members had headaches and ringing in their ears.
“My idea of noise is a horn blowing or a tractor — it disappears,” Sheila Bailey told Janet MacLeod of the Eastern Graphic in Montague.
“This doesn’t disappear. Your ears ring. That goes on continuously.”
“People who came to our house would stand in the yard, and their ears would pop,” added Kevin Bailey.
For Dodi and Dwayne Bailey, the breaking point was when their son started waking up three and four times a night with night terrors.
The two families didn’t get any help from the provincial government so they borrowed money for the move.
“There are no rules and regulations on windmills,” Paul Cheverie, chairman of the Eastern Kings Community Council said. “The more we get into it, the more we realize we jumped the gun.”
He said when the wind farm was proposed, residents accepted information from government at face value.
“We were told the windmills are coming, and you don’t want to make too many waves.”
Now, he wishes the community had taken a more active role before the wind farm went up in the centre of four communities.
(24 February, 2008 in Nova Scotia News).
‘Something has turned terribly sour for about 18 homeowners who live along the mountain roads where the state’s first and only wind farm has recently gone on line. To a man and to a woman, they feel betrayed, cheated, used, ignored, and dismissed. Put them in a room and they are spitting mad. Collectively, as they gather on a Saturday morning inside a home that sits in the shadow of the turbines, their anger is barely palatable. Since the turbines started up, they say, silence has become a luxury.’
(See full story: by Paul Lefebvre in The Barton Chronicle - 21 February, 2007.
ELECTRICITY GENERATIONU.K. National Grid Status