Resource Documents: England (30 items)
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Avian vulnerability to wind farm collision through the year: Insights from lesser black-backed gulls (Larus fuscus) tracked from multiple breeding colonies
Author: Thaxter, Chris; et al.
- Wind energy generation has become an important means to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate against human‐induced climate change, but could also represent a significant human–wildlife conflict. Airborne taxa such as birds may be particularly sensitive to collision mortality with wind turbines, yet the relative vulnerability of species’ populations across their annual life cycles has not been evaluated.
- Using GPS telemetry, we studied the movements of lesser black‐backed gulls Larus fuscus from three UK breeding colonies through their annual cycle. We modelled the distance travelled by birds at altitudes between the minimum and maximum rotor sweep zone of turbines, combined with the probability of collision, to estimate sensitivity to collision. Sensitivity was then combined with turbine density (exposure) to evaluate spatio‐temporal vulnerability.
- Sensitivity was highest near to colonies during the breeding season, where a greater distance travelled by birds was in concentrated areas where they were exposed to turbines.
- Consequently, vulnerability was high near to colonies but was also high at some migration bottlenecks and wintering sites where, despite a reduced sensitivity, exposure to turbines was greatest.
- Synthesis and applications. Our framework combines bird‐borne telemetry and spatial data on the location of wind turbines to identify potential areas of conflict for migratory populations throughout their annual cycle. This approach can aid the wind farm planning process by: (a) providing sensitivity maps to inform wind farm placement, helping minimize impacts; (b) identifying areas of high vulnerability where mitigation warrants exploration; (c) highlighting potential cumulative impacts of developments over international boundaries and (d) informing the conservation status of species at protected sites. Our methods can identify pressures and linkages for populations using effect‐specific metrics that are transferable and could help resolve other human–wildlife conflicts.
Chris B. Thaxter
Viola H. Ross‐Smith
Nigel A. Clark
Greg J. Conway
Gary D. Clewley
Lee J. Barber
Niall H. K. Burton
British Trust for Ornithology, Norfolk
Computational Geo‐Ecology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Elizabeth A. Masden
Environmental Research Institute, North Highland College, University of the Highlands and Islands, Thurso, U.K.
Journal of Applied Ecology 2019; 00: 1–13
First published: 09 September 2019
Author: Davis, Jane
I am Jane Davis. I live on a farm [Grays Farm] on the Fens in Lincolnshire, England, an area known as South Holland.
Perceptions of Noise
- Swish – blade cutting through the air.
- Ripping /lashing
- Hum – low frequency drone similar to mains transformer, but uneven.
- WD40 noise.
- Background roar.
- Helicopter noise (aerodynamic modulation – AM) …Whoooomph
- Enhanced helicopter noise (amplitude modulation of aerodynamic modulation)
Factors That Emphasise Turbine Noise Pollution
- Shelter – Trees, especially conifers, tend to filter out other noise, making the sound of the turbines clearer.
- Reflective surfaces – Buildings (especially with steel cladding) reflect the sound, increasing the annoyance and making the enveloping of the area even more complete.
- Insulation – from other sounds (double glazing, wall insulation, ear plugs etc) leads to greater selection for lower frequency sound pressure waves as they have a much greater ability to penetrate and are practically impossible to protect against in a domestic situation.
- Wind direction – Most effects are worst when the wind is from a southerly direction, blowing through the wind farm toward our home.
- Stable air conditions associated with temperature inversion on summer evening, i.e., still air and quiet at ground level but strong wind at 100 metres above ground level.
Extract from South Holland District Council
“It should be noted that the methodology for assessing noise from wind farms is different from other more traditional sources of noise (e.g., loud music). The standard ETSU-R-97 is used for wind farms as opposed to BS:4142 for most other noise sources, meaning that traditional measures of nuisance do not apply.”
|1||25/06/2006||15.00 to 23.00||Significant noise and sensations||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2||26/06/2006||05.00 – 07.00 and 22.00 – 24.00||11.5 revolutions per min and grinding/rumble heard at night||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|8||02/07/2006||17.00 – 24.00||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||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|21/07/2006||Holiday – Away, throughout holiday all of us slept till at least 9 am. No headaches, or earaches whilst away. Turbines off when we returned home.|
|15||22/07/2006||04.37 – 07.30||Woken at 04.37, ears pulsing, whoosh, throb and house humming. I cried.||Yes||Yes||Yes.|
|18||25/07/2006||19.00 – 23.00||Too loud to sit comfortably in garden.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|23||30/07/2006||19.30 – 23.01||Could be heard over combines!||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|25||01/08/2006||04.37||woken by house humming and ears pulsing. Wind from SW, fast and noisy||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|56||01/09/2006||04.44||woken by house humming and ears pulsing. Wind from SW, fast and noisy||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|57||02/09/2006||04.38||woken by house humming and ears pulsing. Turbines whooshing and thumping fast and noisy. Eventually got back to sleep by putting fan on facing wall.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|61||06/09/2006||04.47||woken by house humming and ears pulsing. Turbines whooshing and thumping fast and noisy. Eventually got back to sleep by putting fan on facing wall.||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|62||07/09/2006||05.35 – 23.00||Hum very loud and “rattly”||Yes|
|63||08/09/2006||02.00 – 24.00||Woke at 02.00 to go to the toilet, still awake at 03.43. Hum more of a noisy grinding in the background than a hum, and not easy to get back to sleep. Hum and whoosh very noticeable at midnight when we had
|64||09/09/2006||04.44 – 23.00||Woke briefly and could hear hum but went back to sleep as had taken sleeping tablets||Yes|
Transport, environment and health. WHO Regional Publications. European Series No. 89
“Noise can cause difficulty in falling asleep, reduction in deep resting sleep. Increased awakenings during sleep and adverse after effects such as fatigue and decreased performance. These effects are avoided if noise levels are kept below 30dB LAeq continuous noise or 45dB LA max indoors. (LAeq values refer to steady state continuous noise. LA max values refer to noise events.)”
So what steps can be taken to protect the residential amenity?
- Consider what is the difference between sound and noise? Clearly more than the loudness alone. An aircraft is very noisy, but a dripping tap at night can be more than enough to spoil a good nights sleep.
- ETSU-R-97 just talks about noise as in volume – it does nothing to account for the intrusive character of the noise. So in a rural area 35dB(A) may be as much as 15 dB(A) over background and modulate as well. 43dB(A) (the nightime recommended criteria WILL be too high in a rural area, even with a nearby road!). “A” weighting masks the low frequency element by diminishing it!
- Spacing is crucial. Spacing between turbines (following current best practice) should be at least 4 × the rotor diameter apart. Between rows of Turbines it should be 10 × the rotor diameter.
- Whichever turbine is chosen as the model for the EIA then that IS the model and any changes should have a new noise assessment done. Size DOES matter! The relationship between blade length and tower height is critical and crucial to the material effect that it will have on noise and the residential amenity.
- Distancing from homes/schools etc should be 1.5 miles (in an ideal world) but NEVER less than 1000m, irrespective of whom the inhabitant is going to be!
Download original document: “Noise update, 20 November 2008, Jane Davis, Grays Farm, Deeping St Nicholas”
Author: Kenny, Pamela
Would I say this?:
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world live near and work at operating wind turbines without health effects. Wind energy enjoys considerable public support, but wind energy detractors have publicized their concerns that the sounds emitted from wind turbines cause adverse health effects. These allegations of health-related impacts are not supported by science. Studies show no evidence for direct human health effects from wind turbines.
It is certainly not me talking.
It is the claim of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the national trade association for the U.S. wind industry. Wind power developers and their lobby groups around the world are shouting the same message – that the noise and vibration (infrasound, sound pressure, and low frequency noise) produced by large-scale wind turbines produce no direct health effects.
In reality, their claim is a lie. There is an ocean of documented evidence to support the assertions of anti-wind campaigners that the noise and vibration from wind turbines causes a range of health problems in significant numbers of people. If you search for just a couple of hours online, you can find personal stories by the thousand, and also numerous highly technical research papers by eminent medics and scientists detailing, amongst others, these symptoms:
- Chronic sleep deprivation
- Sleep disturbance
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar (dangerous for diabetics)
- Poor concentration and memory
- Headaches and migraines
- Dizziness, unsteadiness, ear pain and vertigo
- Vibration in the body, particularly the chest
- Sensations of pressure or fullness in the ear
- Annoyance, anger and aggression
- Increase in agitation by those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and ADD/ADHD
Some of these symptoms can be attributed to sleep deprivation. It is increasingly clear from peer- reviewed medical papers that night noise interrupting sleep has an adverse effect on both cardiovascular health and stress levels. Interrupted sleep can also have serious effects on daytime concentration leading, potentially, to increased risk of industrial accidents and road traffic collisions. As these problems are likely to occur at locations remote from the cause of the interrupted sleep they are difficult to attribute to their actual cause. Dr. Christopher Hanning, a now-retired Consultant in Sleep Disorders Medicine to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, writes:
In the short term … deprivation of sleep results in daytime fatigue and sleepiness, poor concentration and memory function. Accident risks increase. In the longer term, sleep deprivation is linked to depression, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
I do not pretend to be an expert in the effects of noise, but I do know that in over 30 years as a GP I have seen countless patients presenting with the effects of insomnia, and shift workers in particular suffer far more than the general population with the effects of disturbed sleep. What I find astonishing is that the noise regulations for the wind industry permit MORE noise to be generated by the turbines at night than during the day. This is completely contrary to noise pollution legislation, World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines – and common sense.
Other symptoms listed above are likely to be a response to exposure to infrasound (sound with a frequency of less than 20 Hz) and low frequency noise (sound with a frequency of less than 200 Hz) produced by the turbines. Both low frequency noise and infrasound occur naturally in the environment (for instance, from household appliances and machinery in the case of low frequency noise, and ocean waves in the case of infrasound). In periods when the wind is blustery, large wind turbines generate both very low frequency sounds and infrasound which can travel much greater distances than audible sound. These sounds are not audible to the human ear, but our brains certainly detect them and some susceptible people suffer some of the unpleasant symptoms I have listed, such as tinnitus, ear pain and vertigo. If you feel up to reading some technical, but very interesting, research on this subject, take a look at “Wind-Turbine Noise. What Audiologists Should Know” by Punch, James and Pabst, published in the American publication Audiology Today in 2010.
Other reasons why people experience health impacts from wind turbines include the swishing or thumping of the blades, which is highly annoying as the frequency and loudness varies with changes in wind speed and local atmospheric conditions. This is not at all like the sound of a passing train, aeroplane or tractor which moves on rapidly to be replaced by less intrusive background sounds. The noise of wind turbines has been likened to a “passing train that never passes” which may explain why it is prone to cause sleep disruption.
Some of those with heightened sensitivity to specific repetitive stimuli, such as those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), can be seriously affected by the noise. Consultant clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Stebbings, from the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust, said more research was needed into wind turbine noise and these disorders:
Because it is clear from our clinical knowledge of the condition of autism that the sensory difficulties individuals can have are possibly going to be impacted on by the presence of such large sensory objects in their environment.
Indeed, there is at least one case on record of a wind farm application being turned down because of the proven impact on children with autism.
Then there is shadow flicker or strobing which occurs when the rotating blades periodically cast shadows through the windows of properties. This can be truly unpleasant to live with and can trigger migraine and – much more rarely – epileptic fits in those suffering from photosensitive epilepsy. At night, the red warning lights on the tops of some turbines can cause blade glint and strobing effects, so it is not just a daytime phenomenon.
Then there is the effect of stress. If you live in a tranquil rural area like ours, where the daytime and night time noise levels are almost always very low, you may well suffer varying levels of stress from the imposition of industrial-scale wind turbines into the landscape. The stress can occur long before the turbines are erected: during the planning process; during the noise and disruption of the construction; when you see the turbines for the first time and cannot believe the scale of them; and, then, during their operation when your sleep is disrupted and other physical and mental symptoms present themselves.
The effects of wind turbine noise have been known for several years now. In February 2007, a Plymouth GP, Dr. Amanda Harry, published a report “Wind Turbines, Noise and Health”. The report documents her contacts with 39 people living between 300 metres and 2 kilometres from the nearest turbine of a wind farm. She discovered symptoms such as those I have outlined experienced by people living up to 1.6 kilometres from the wind farms.
The wind industry has repeatedly tried to discredit Dr. Harry’s report, and another – published in 2009 – by a leading American Pediatrician Dr. Nina Pierpont, who coined the phrase “Wind Turbine Syndrome” to cover the range of health problems she investigated over five years in the US, the UK, Italy, Ireland and Canada. The global wind industry also spends vast sums attempting to discredit scientifically sound research studies, and the papers of experts in the physiology of the ear that prove infrasound can have adverse effects despite it not being audible.
It is true that both Dr. Harry’s and Dr. Pierpont’s research is largely anecdotal and does not reach the high standards needed for statistical validity. However, that also applied to reports on the association between lung cancer and smoking, and asbestos and asbestosis, in the early days.
We have now reached the stage in the debate when there can be no reasonable doubt that industrial wind turbines – whether singly or in wind farms – generate sufficient noise to disturb the sleep and impair the health of those living nearby. In fact, our own Government has long been fully aware of the problems, as demonstrated in a 2008 Economic Affairs Committee Memorandum by Mr Peter Hadden, which concludes that:
onshore wind turbines built within 2km of homes offer no benefits and should not be part of a plan to provide the UK with a viable, secure, predictable supply of electricity. Indeed, onshore wind turbines ensure an unpredictable energy supply, by the very nature of the wind, with a long list of adverse impacts that diminish their supposed usefulness. Other renewables, such as solar and hydropower, offer more options and more predictability, especially combined with the still necessary (and technologically advancing) conventional sources of energy.
I find it unbelievable that the wind industry is permitted to inflict health nuisance such as sleep disturbance, stress, and headaches on our communities – let alone more serious health issues such as depression, and heart and diabetes problems. To suggest, as the wind industry does, that there is “no problem” when faced with the huge body of evidence from around the world is perverse.
What sums up this entire problem for me is the quote below. It is by Dr. Noel Kerin of the Occupational and Environmental Medical Association of Canada. He was attending the First International Symposium on Adverse Health Effects and Industrial Wind Turbines, held in Canada in October 2010. He was shocked by the overwhelming evidence on the harmful effects of wind turbines:
First we had tobacco, then asbestos, and urea formaldehyde, and now wind turbines. Don’t we ever learn? Our public health system should be screaming the precautionary principle. The very people who are sworn to protect us have abandoned the public.
My extensive reading into the harmful effects of wind turbines leaves me in no doubt that, to protect our community, we need to oppose the erection of three 125 metre turbines on Berry Fen.* Quite aside from the damage to our beautiful landscape, our tranquillity, our tourism industry, and wildlife, this wind farm would have serious implications for the health of many who live and work here for the entire 25-year life of the wind farm, and well beyond.
Pamela Kenny, MB BS, MRCS LRCP, FIMC RCSEd
Dr. Pamela Kenny was a founder of the current Haddenham and Stretham GP surgeries in 1986. She retired from practice there in 2006, but continued to work in Cottenham and St Ives and is a Trustee of the emergency medical service MAGPAS. Dr. Kenny has always had an interest in how lifestyle factors affect patient’s health, and continues to do so in the interests of the community. She has immense sympathy with anyone who might be affected by any form of flicker as she has always suffered from flicker-induced migraine. She also has the kind of hearing that is super-sensitive to both high and very low sound.
*There is still time to object to the planning application [the deadline has been extended to 3rd September 2014]. You do not have to write a long letter – just a couple of points outlining why you object – and every single person in your household should write individually as the number of objections will make a difference. Whichever method you choose, please include your name and full postal address, and the Planning Application Number 14/00728/ESF:
- Send your objection by email to email@example.com
- Or write to: Mrs Penny Mills, Planning Officer, East Cambs District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE
- Or drop off to the following addresses: Simon Monk, Dunelm House, 4d The Borough, Aldreth; and Ian Munford, 4 Orchard Way, Haddenham.
Download original document: “Wind Turbines Make People Ill: Fact Not Fiction”
Author: Gibbons, Stephen
This study provides quantitative evidence on the local benefits and costs of wind farm developments in England and Wales, focussing on their visual environmental impacts. In the tradition of studies in environmental, public and urban economics, housing costs are used to reveal local preferences for views of wind farm developments. Estimation is based on quasi- experimental research designs that compare price changes occurring in places where wind farms become visible, with price changes in appropriate comparator groups. These comparator groups include places close to wind farms that became visible in the past, or where they will become operational in the future and places close to wind farms sites but where the turbines are hidden by the terrain. All these comparisons suggest that wind farm visibility reduces local house prices, and the implied visual environmental costs are substantial.
… the largest wind farms (20+ turbines) reduce prices by 12% within 2km, and reduce prices by small amounts right out to 14k (by around 1.5%).
Spatial Economics Research Centre, London School of Economics and Political Sciences, London, United Kingdom
Download original document: “Gone with the wind: valuing the visual impacts of wind turbines through house prices”