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Resource Documents: Noise (471 items)


Also see NWW press release on noise

Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.

Date added:  April 9, 2014
Ireland, Noise, Regulations, SitingPrint storyE-mail story

Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014

Author:  Oireachtas, Eire

An Bille um Rialáil Tuirbíní Gaoithe, 2014

An Act to regulate wind turbines through providing limits on the exportation of product generated from wind turbines; protecting nearby dwellings from noise and shadow flicker by providing minimum set back distances; allowing access to public consultative processes and related matters. …

Excess product

(1) The generated product from wind turbines within the state and as regulated in 15 accordance with this Act, shall not be exported outside the island of Ireland, until such a time as the Minister is satisfied, subject to the conditions outlined in subsection (2), that the generated product is product which may be deemed excess product. …

Noise and shadow flickers

Every person applying for permission under the Act of 2000 to construct a wind turbine, and every operator of a wind turbine shall ensure the following—

(a) that the noise from the wind turbine does not exceed the noise limits specified in the World Health Organisation Guidelines for Community Noise (1999), or any preceding or replacement guidelines, and

(b) that the distance of the wind turbine is such that any shadow flicker from the turbine does not pass over the dwelling.

Set back distances

(1) Subject to the duties in section 4, the minimum distance between a wind turbine and a dwelling shall be as set out in subsection (3).

(2) If a number of wind turbines are proposed as part of the same development, then the minimum distance requirements in subsection (3) apply to each individual wind turbine.

(3) Wind turbines that are of a height which is greater than 25 metres shall be located not less than a distance of ten times the height of the turbine away from any dwelling.

(4) The height of a wind turbine is measured from the ground to the end of the blade tip at its highest point.

(5) The distance from a dwelling is measured from the base of the wind turbine to the point of the dwelling nearest the base of the wind turbine. …

Introduced by Deputies Michael Colreavy, Brian Stanley and Martin Ferris
13th March, 2014

Na Teachtaí Micheál Colreavy, Brian Stanley agus Máirtín Ó Fearghusa a thug isteach,
13 Márta, 2014

Download original document: “Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014”

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Date added:  April 7, 2014
Health, Noise, ScotlandPrint storyE-mail story

Ark Hill wind turbines 1 year on

Author:  Vivers, Andrew

I live at Arniefoul which is 5km East of the Ark Hill wind turbines (8 x 80m Enercon E48 turbines) and 1.6km West of the proposed Govals wind turbines (6 x 87m turbines). The prevailing wind is from the West.

Ark Hill was commissioned on 5 March 2013 and at that time I started to have continuous headaches with some light-headedness and tinnitus. Further to this, I also started to suffer frequent sleep disturbance. When I awoke I could often hear the whooshing of the turbine blades. Assuming it was the audible sound that was disturbing me, I moved my bed further away from the window and slept with the window closed. This made no difference to my sleep deprivation – usually being woken at around 3am until 5am. With the window closed I rarely hear the turbine noise, but I can sometimes feel their rhythm and therefore deduce that it is an inaudible noise (Low Frequency Noise and Infrasound) that is causing the lack of sleep.

In June 2013 I had two dizzy spells when out walking on the hills surrounding Arniefoul. It was at this time I noticed a correlation between the turbines, the wind direction and the above symptoms. My tinnitus became constant and on some nights extremely loud.

My symptoms appear to be worse when there is a Southerly wind. The Ark Hill turbines rotate clockwise and therefore it is probably an emission during the down stroke that creates the harmful effects. This suggests it may have little to do with the supporting structure and therefore an ‘upwind’ or ‘downwind’ design of turbine will make little difference.

Surprisingly, the prevailing Westerly wind seems to cause slightly less symptoms than a Southerly wind. Turbine noise, however, is most audible when there is little prevailing wind at ground level and at treetop level, but sufficient wind at turbine blade area to turn the blades at a critical speed. In similar conditions to these, when there is an Easterly wind we can easily hear traffic on the A90, 5km to our East, even though there is the huge bund of the Sidlaw Hills between us.

A North or East wind causes slightly less symptoms again, although should the Govals wind turbines be erected, I expect to suffer greatly from those turbines during these wind directions.

January and February 2014 were particularly bad months with predominately Southerly and Westerly winds causing much sleep deprivation, loud tinnitus, lack of concentration and irritability.

On 9 February 2014, I started recording my blood pressure morning and evening. It fluctuates considerably with a recorded high of 185/105. On 28 March for instance, after several days of Easterly wind, it was at a more ‘acceptable’ 140/83. There appear to be correlations between wind, atmospheric and weather conditions.

Whilst my body may be building some form of resistance to the turbine noises (audible and inaudible) I also believe it is getting more sensitive in certain ways. I sometimes get my “turbine headache” out to at least 10km from the turbines. Also, I have recently noticed I need to clear my ears more frequently, similar to going up in an airplane or scuba diving.

From 6 to 12 March we stayed near Tarfside, Glen Esk (currently no turbines near there). All my symptoms reduced noticeably, with my blood pressure reaching a low of 136/81.

An obvious option is to sell my property and move (where to?). My work is in the local area and therefore this is not really a business option. Nor is it an emotional option since my family has enjoyed being at Arniefoul for nearly a century.

I have heard of landowners with turbines who now regret having turbines on their land, yet are unable to speak out due to ‘non disclosure clauses’ in their contracts with developers. Also, I suspect that there are many people living near wind turbines who suffer similar conditions to mine but who remain silent for fear of property devaluation, tenancy or employment concerns, and the like.

I am sure that should the Govals and Frawney (5 x 80m, same make as Ark Hill and West Knock Farm, Buchan) wind turbines be erected, with Forfar and Letham being on the down-wind side, there will be people with similar sensitivity as myself who will suffer. Children are thought to be more sensitive to turbine noises than adults.

PeoplesometimessaythatIlookwellconsideringthesymptomsIdescribe. Iamreluctanttotake drugs/medication, with their own potential side effects, when I do not believe they are treating the root cause. I have always made considerable efforts to maintain a high level of fitness.

I understand that:

There is well-documented and peer-reviewed evidence of the detrimental health effects that turbine emissions have on humans. It is unethical to expose people to something already suspected of being harmful.

Where is the ‘Duty of Care’?

Andrew Vivers
Arniefoul, Glamis
4 April 2014

Download original document: “Ark Hill wind turbines 1 year on”

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Date added:  April 6, 2014
Health, Human rights, Law, Noise, PortugalPrint storyE-mail story

Portuguese Supreme Court orders 4 wind turbines removed

Author:  Supremo Tribunal de Justiça

Wind turbine #2 is at a distance of 321.83 m from the house and 182.36 m from the stables; wind turbine #3 at 539.92 m and 439.64 m, respectively; wind turbine #4 at 579.86 m and 565.50 m; and wind turbine #1 at 642.08 m and 503 m.

Before November 2006, Quinta was a quiet and peaceful place, with little human presence in the surrounding area, and limited human presence at the site itself – only birds, vegetation, and trees. Before November 2006, the plaintiffs never reported the existence of insomnia, difficulty sleeping, or sleep disturbances. After the start of operation of wind turbines 1, 2, 3 and 4, the plaintiffs have reported the existence of insomnia, sleep difficulties, and sleep disturbances. … After the commissioning of the wind turbines, the 1st plaintiff had complaints of mood changes, fatigue, headache, and hypersensitivity to noise. The remaining members of the household had similar but less severe complaints. …

The right to rest, tranquility and sleep are aspects of the right to humane treatment (Article 25, para. 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Portugal), which is part of established fundamental rights, the collection of rights, freedoms, and guarantees. These personality rights are well protected against any unlawful interference, not necessarily in blame for an offense in intent to harm the victim, but in the offense itself.

The right to rest is offended even though the activity of operating the wind farm in question has been officially authorized. The fact that noise regulations are respected does not mean that it is allowed to affect the rights to rest and health. The wrongfulness, in this perspective, obviates measurement of the noise level by legal standards: The illegality of a noisy behavior that harms the rest, tranquility, and sleep of others is precisely the fact that unjustifiably and beyond socially tolerable limits is injurious to the rights integrated in the bundle of rights, freedoms, and guarantees.

Indeed, “the consecration of a maximum sound level of noise just means that the administration can not authorize the installation of equipment or grant licensing of activities that do not respect that ceiling, and disregard of this limit is considered a violation of a regulatory ordinance.” That is, “the General Regulation on Noise only have effects within the administrative activity and in scope, and may not interfere with the protection of personality rights of the people, whose protection is not exhausted in the noise limit established in this law.”

Collision of Rights

On one side is the right to rest, personality, absolute, inviolable, and enrolled in the framework of rights and freedoms …

On the other side, according to the position of the defendant, are constitutionally protected community values, particularly the achievement of the public interest, the unquestioned value of wind turbines as a source of clean energy and that the defendant represents a clean energy industry and thus a defender of the environment. …

Having been established that the 1st plaintiff lives and works full time at Quinta, the 2nd plaintiff is domestic (ie working from home), the social life of the family is passed at Quinta, and the two minor children study at Quinta outside school hours, this means that exposure to noise occurs not only at night but also during the day, causing sleep problems at night but constituting disturbed living throughout the day, caused by the noises and flashing shadows as a result of the activity of the wind turbines, physical and mental wear on the plaintiffs’ persons throughout the day.

For this reason, the decision to suspend the wind turbines only from dusk to dawn is unacceptable. … In fact, although not proven that the noise is less in the day day than during the night, if the wind turbines are not turned off, it is clear that the violation of personality rights is also observed during the daytime, causing anxiety and physical and psychological distress in the whole family.

For this reason, a clear prevalence of personality rights requires the suspension/removal of all the wind turbines in question. …


For these reasons, in dismissal of the defendant’s case, and the partial granting of the plaintiffs’, it is ordered that the defendant:

a) Suspend the total operation of wind turbine nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the wind farm in the daytime and nighttime, and that the defendant, therefore, remove them.

b) Pay the plaintiffs as compensation the sum of thirty thousand euros.

Lisboa, 30 de Maio de 2013
Granja da Fonseca (Relator)
Silva Gonçalves
Ana Paula Boularot

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Date added:  April 6, 2014
Health, Noise, PortugalPrint storyE-mail story

Reply to: How the factoid of wind turbines causing ‘vibroacoustic disease’ came to be ‘irrefutably demonstrated’

Author:  Alves-Pereira, Mariana; and Castelo Branco, Nuno

As lead researchers in vibroacoustic disease (VAD), we have been made aware of the article by Chapman et al.[1] in which our work was greatly misrepresented and misunderstood. Correction and clarification are, therefore, required.

Chapman et al. reference a 2007 paper discussing Public health and the importance of low frequency noise (LFN), in which the LFN content of a ‘Grain Terminal home’ and a ‘Wind Turbine home’ are discussed.[2] The grain terminal (GT) case, originally presented in 2004, was first-authored by our cardiologist,[3] and the Wind Turbine (WT) case was first presented in 2007,[4] with a follow-up in 2010.[5] We stand behind the statements published in these papers.

Both families solicited our help. We did not select or procure either case, and we provided our services pro bono. Until then, our experience with LFN-induced pathology had been mostly within occupational exposures, not environmental or residential exposures.

It is not our intention herein to replicate the results of the above-mentioned studies, but some data is required to clarify to the issues at hand.

Some acoustical considerations

The owner of the WT-home paid an independent accredited firm for the acoustical measurements, and provided our team with the numerical information for further analyses. No commercial, financial or professional agreements (contractual or otherwise) existed between this firm and the VAD research team. Figure 1 shows acoustical data compiled by VAD researchers.

As seen in Figure 1, levels of LFN are clearly increased in the bedroom when WT are in operation.

Figure 1: Data collected by an independent accredited firm, inside the Master Bedroom of the WT-home. Comparison of values at the same wind speed.[4]

Figure 1: Data collected by an independent accredited firm, inside the Master Bedroom of the WT-home. Comparison of values at the same wind speed.[4]

Chapman et al. claimed our work was “of abject methodological quality” (p.247) because “The noise measuring equipment used to measure infrasound in the two houses was different” (p.246). However, in that paper, Alves-Pereira et al.,[2] being fully aware of that technical limitation, wrote: “In a perfect world, designed for the most efficient and accurate scientific studies, all noise assessments ought to be conducted with the same equipment and with the same procedures. This is not feasible. So, despite on-site and factory calibrations, a legitimate question will always remain: can the differences between the ILFN levels in the [GT and WT] homes (…) be due to differences in the noise measuring equipment and procedures alone? Despite this legitimate question, these data are sufficient to warrant precautionary measures”.[2]

Some clinical considerations

Another criticism emerged because we “took no account of inattention and lack of energy in school children being common” (p.247).

Upon being contacted by these two families, VAD Team researchers provided non-invasive VAD screening tests. The rationale for these specific tests would require significant self-citation.

The 10-year-old residing since gestation in the GT-home disclosed “the most severe cardiovascular condition”, scoring the highest values in mitral valve leaflet thickening and pericardial thickening.[3] These echo-imaging findings had only previously been seen in older LFN-exposed workers,[6] and were entirely unexpected in a 10-year-old child.

Furthermore, this child had “suffered from asthma until the age of 1 year. At 5–8 months of age, he was medicated for reflux, and then again until he was 1 year old. At 8 months he suffered pneumonia. After the age of 1, he began to develop repeated ear infections that were not responsive to antibiotics. At age 3 he underwent ear surgery. At the age of 5, at school, he suddenly lost his vision, and was taken to the hospital where the EEG revealed a late onset epileptic seizure. Nose bleeds without an apparent cause used to be frequent, but have subsided with age. There is no history of rheumatic fever, radiation or asbestos exposure.” (In: Alves-Pereira et al.,[2] citing Araújo et al.[3])

In the WT-case, Evoked Potentials provided to the 12-year-old boy, disclosed “asymmetries in the right and left nerve conduction times, and the right I-V interlatency value was at the threshold of normal values (4.44ms). The endogenous evoked potential P300 recording occurred at 352ms (normal: 300ms)”.[4] Taken alone, these values are not relevant, but after a two-month vacation away from the WT home, the child disclosed significant improvement: 322ms.

Neurophysiological tests were provided to this child because four months after WT began operation, the parents received a letter from the child’s teacher voicing “concern for the growing difficulties of an otherwise outstanding student, (…) it seems that [the child] has lost interest, makes a lesser effort, as if he were permanently tired. In Physical Education, an abnormal amount of tiredness is also observed. Is [the child] leading a healthy life? Does he sleep sufficient hours during the night?’”[2]

These objective medical tests and clinical histories, disclosing morphological and brain potential changes, go well beyond the scope of “common” lack of energy in school children, as Chapman et al. suggest.

Some biological considerations

The fundamental histological feature found both in LFN-exposed patients and LFN-exposed laboratory animals was also observed in the horses raised on the WT-home property: thickening of vascular walls due to proliferation of extra-cellular matrices in the absence of an inflammatory process.[5] To fully comprehend the rationale and the highly significant implications of these results, a large amount of self-citation would now be required.

Understanding the pathophysiology of LFN-induced diseases requires knowledge on cellular tensegrity architecture[7] that goes beyond the classical models of general physiopathology.[8,9] Mechanotransduction cellular signaling,[9] a relatively new concept, becomes of paramount importance because it is a major target of the LFN agent.[10] In the absence of this new cellular model, the nature of the biological response prompted by LFN exposure cannot be fully understood.

Final remarks

Given the complexity of this subject, difficulty in recognising the significance of our scientific findings reported over the past three decades is entirely understandable.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of studies concerning health impacts of WT on neighbouring residents do not yet provide an adequate quantification of the physical agent of disease, and are based on highly subjective questionnaires lacking clinical corroboration on relevant endpoints. This is flagrantly perpetuated by the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study, as prepared for the State of Massachusetts.[11] In our ongoing investigations, we have repeatedly pointed out the inadequacy of questionnaires as a valid measure of health effect,[12] a position shared by the Strategic Health Impact Assessment on Wind Energy Development, as prepared for the State of Oregon.[13]

We reiterate that LFN-contaminated homes are a significant public health concern, and substantial health deterioration can be observed in humans and animals dwelling without respite in LFN-rich environments. (Disclaimer: this statement cannot and should not be construed as an argument against the implementation of wind turbines.)

On 30 May 2013, the Supreme Court of Justice in Portugal decided upon the removal of the four WT, initially erected in 2006.[14]

Mariana Alves-Pereira
School of Economic Sciences and Organizations, Universidade Lusófona, Portugal

Nuno A. A. Castelo Branco
Principal Investigator, VAD Project

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2014 vol. 38 no. 2 pp. 191-192.
doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12229


1. Chapman S, St George A. How the factoid of wind turbines causing “vibroacoustic disease” came to be “irrefutably demonstrated”. Aust NZ J Public Health 2013; 37:244-9.

2. Alves-Pereira M, Castelo Branco NAA. Public health and noise exposure: the importance of low frequency noise. Proceedings of the Inter-Noise 2007 Conference ; 2007 Aug 28-31; Istanbul, Turkey.

3. Araujo A, Alves-Pereira M, Joanaz de Melo J, Castelo Branco NAA. Vibroacoustic disease in a ten-year-old male. Proceedings of the Internoise 2004 Conference; 2004 Aug 22-25; Prague, Czech Republic

4. Alves-Pereira M, Castelo Branco NAA. In-home wind turbine noise is conducive to vibroacoustic disease. Proceedings of the 2nd International Meet Wind Turbine Noise; 2007 Sep 20-21; Lyon, France.

5. Castelo Branco NAA, Costa e Curto T, Mendes Jorge L, Cavaco Faísca J, Amaral Dias L, Oliveira P, et al. Family with wind turbines in close proximity to home: follow-up of the case presented in 2007. Proceedings of the 14th International Meet Low Frequency Noise Vibration Control; 2010 Jun 9-11; Aalborg, Denmark.

6. Marciniak W, Rodriguez E, Olsowska K, Botvin I, Araujo A, Pais F, et al. Echocardiography in 485 aeronautical workers exposed to different noise environments. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1999;70 Suppl 3:A46-53.

7. Ingberg DE. Cellular tensegrity: defining new rules of biological design that governs the cytoskeleton. J Cell Sci. 1993;104:613-27.

8. Stamenovic D, Fredberg JJ, Wang N, Butler JP, Ingber DE. A microstructural approach to cytoskeletal mechanics based on tensegrity. J Theoretical Biol 1996; 181: 125-136.

9. Wang N, Butler JP, Ingber DE. Mechanotransduction across the cell surface and through the cytoskeleton. Science 1993; 260: 1124-27.

10. Alves-Pereira M, Castelo Branco NAA. Vibroacoustic disease: Biological effects of infrasound and low frequency noise explained by mechanotransduction cellular signaling. Prog Biophy Molec Biol 2007; 93: 256-79.

11. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel [Internet]. Boston (MA): Commonwealth of Massachusetts EEA; 2012 [cited 2014 Jan 15]. Available from:

12. Alves-Pereira M. Review of Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel [Internet]. Boston (MA): Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Public Health; 2012 [cited 2014 Jan 15]. Available from:

13. Oregon Health Authority. Strategic Health Impact Assessment on Wind Energy Development in Oregon [Internet]. Portland (OR): Government of Oregon Public Health Division; 2013 [cited 2014 Jan 15]. Available from:

14. Supreme Court of Justice (Portugal). Decision No. 2209/08.0TBTVD.L1.S1. Relevant Case Law in the Field of Environment in 2009 – Supreme Administrative Court, 22nd September, 2009, Judgement 161/05.2TBVLG.S1, Sector: Noise [Internet]. [cited 2014 Jan 15]. Available from:

Download original document: “Reply to: How the factoid of wind turbines causing ‘vibroacoustic disease’ came to be ‘irrefutably demonstrated’”

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