Health

  • Within 2km of an industrial wind farm, it seems that you are at risk from sleep disturbance and associated issues, headaches, ringing/buzzing in the ear, nausea, tachycardia … because of the low frequency vibration, noise pollution, light pollution and shadow flicker from wind turbines.  Watch a video about noise and flicker here and more info on health impacts in this recent article and this video. Families in Ireland are suing a wind farm operator over the adverse health impact of living near huge turbines in a landmark case.
  • Although developers of wind farms argue that noise is a minor issue, a recent paper in the prestigious British Medical Journal has concluded that the noise of wind turbines seems to affect health adversely and has called for an independent review of the evidence:

A large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines disturb sleep and impair health at distances and external noise levels that are permitted in most jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom. Sleep disturbance may be a particular problem in children, and it may have important implications for public health. When seeking to generate renewable energy through wind, governments must ensure that the public will not suffer harm from additional ambient noise. Robust independent research into the health effects of existing wind farms is long overdue, as is an independent review of existing evidence and guidance on acceptable noise levels.

Hanning and Evans, BMJ2012;344:e1527doi:10.1136/bmj.e1527 (Published 8 March 2012). Article is behind paywall. Please email us if you would like to see a copy.
 
  • Another medical journal and ENT doctor concludes that ‘there is ample evidence of symptoms arising in individuals exposed to wind turbine noise’, that ‘there is an increasing body of evidence suggesting that infrasound and low frequency noise have a physiological effects on the ear’ and that the effects require further investigation.
  • Many countries with more experience of wind energy than the UK have set back distances between industrial wind turbines and homes. Lincolnshire County Council recommends a 2km separation distance. Other county and district councils are introducing such set back distances, but they are being challenged by government inspectors and energy companies (RWE has launched a judicial review against Milton Keynes Council over the issue). South Kesteven District Council (which will determine the planning application for Temple Hill) is producing a Supplementary Planning Document on Wind Energy. This video entitled ‘No Safe Place‘ concludes that of the people reporting serious adverse health impacts from wind farms, all bar one would be protected by a 2km separation distance.
  • In some areas, residents have successfully sued developers and landowners because of sleep disruption and depression.
In late 2011, Sarah Jane and Julian Davis settled a High Court damages action against the owners and operators of a wind farm they say drove them from their farmhouse home with its ”unbearable” noise. 
 
They moved out of Grays Farm in Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, in December 2006, six months after the eight-turbine wind farm began operating about half a mile from their home.
 
They blamed the ”whoom whoom whoom” and the low frequency ”hum” of giant turbine blades for their exile in a case that was closely watched by the wind farm industry.
 
They said the ”intolerable” noise disrupted their sleep, made them feel ill and was so severe that it warranted a reduction in council tax and rendered the £2.5 million farmhouse no longer marketable as a family home. More
 
  • In another case, a wind farm planning application was rejected because of the effect it would have on eight year old autistic twin boys living nearby:

A North Lincolnshire windfarm plan has been rejected because of the “serious effect” it would have on eight-year-old autistic twin boys living nearby.

Anita and Trevor Glathorne, whose Burton upon Stather home is already overlooked by one windfarm, said the rotating blades affected their sons.

The planning inspectorate dismissed the appeal solely because of the impact the farm would have on Lewis and Ross. Developer Ridge Wind said it was disappointed with the decision. More


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