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Government disregard for wind turbine noise and health problems 

Author:  | Denmark, Health, Noise, Property values, Regulations, Sweden, U.K.

A Christmas update from the Davises of Deeping St Nicholas about the wind turbine noise that drove them from their home, followed by a 1994 letter from Denmark and a 2001 letter from Sweden (thanks to Angela Kelly of Country Guardian in the U.K.) showing that nothing has changed. Noise, and flicker, remains a serious problem (how could a 90-meter-across propeller with a blade assembly weighing 40 tons be otherwise), and it is still officially ignored.

From Deeping St Nicholas, England, 23rd December 2007

Several people have asked us for a Christmas update on what is happening with us, and so here it is.

As far as progress goes in getting our home (or sanity back) it’s very slow indeed.

The Ombudsman is currently investigating the process by which our local Council have decided that we don’t have a statutory noise nuisance at home, because when the turbines are blowing they can’t differentiate between the noise from the turbines and any other noise.

You may well ask what was the point in having a planning condition, based on ETRSU-R-97 when the kit used by Councils can’t differentiate between noises?

Other than to determine that there is a noise of course.

Well we have asked that question too as it seems to totally undermine ETSU altogether and makes a complete nonsense of any planning condition regarding noise from wind turbines based on ETSU …

But as you aren’t allowed to have an Ombudsman investigate your case alongside a similar legal case, then we won’t be pursuing any legal avenues ourselves … yet!

DEFRA & DBERR have always maintained that there is a process that will protect people such as us who are adversely affected by noise from a wind farm.

We remain optimistic that they are correct … but 18 months after we first made our initial complaint we are running out of optimism (if anyone gets some for Christmas please could we have it?).

We have today moved our remaining personal stuff from home to our “sleeping house”, which will now become our “living house”, but it is not our home and this is the second Christmas we have had to spend out of our home because of the wind turbines. Our home looks very sad now …

My mother-in-law awaits further medical tests in January to hopefully exclude the possibility of vibro-acoustic disease. Her consultants have taken the steps to positively look for VAD as she has several anomalies in her condition that cannot be accounted for by any other means.

Our daughter, no longer having her life disrupted on a daily basis is working hard to recover the ground she has lost over the past 18 months and is hopeful that her chosen Universities will offer her a place …

The landowners, Mr Dick Tinsley and Mr Nicholas Watts are conspicuous only by their absence, although the latter, Mr Watts is currently offering shares in two of the turbines on his land to those who wish to invest in our continued torture. (Fenland Green Co-op). The Financial Services Authority had to intervene in the share prospectus as so many things they were claiming weren’t correct and a supplementary share prospectus had to be issued. Sounds like a really sound investment to me!

Similarly absent and inconspicuous is the Wind Farm Operator, Fenland Wind Farm, and the original Developer, Wind Prospect Ltd. In fact they have only made one visit to see us, 18 months ago on a sunny (and * relatively wind free) afternoon in June. That was that!

The good news is that despite being effectively homeless we have met some wonderful people over the past year. We have visited and stayed in beautiful places we would other wise not have known about, and wherever we have been we have made welcome and slept well!!!

Even better good news is that after being diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago Jane has now been discharged from hospital check ups.

So to everyone we have met be it in person, through the internet, on the telephone or at a presentation we thank you and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and most importantly a Peaceful and Quiet 2008!

Best wishes,

Julian & Jane Davis

From Snesere, Denmark, 6th June 1994

I send you the latest news about breakdowns. The reason for this Gierslev break down [is likely] lightning. I have copied some pages from the Danish magazine “Naturlig Energi” owned by the windmill owners [and] notice the many lightnings – also during the winter time!

I just read in the newspaper today that the European wind energy industry has founded an association called “European Wind Energy Association”, EWEA. The association has 40 members and a Dane called Niels Andersen, Vestas Danish wind Technology, is chairman of the committee. So if they go on in England as they did here, you (as windmill neighbour) will be ‘secured’ against noise etc., which will never be followed up by the authorities, or delayed in the hope that you will give up. Here the authority in charge will, months after you have complained, send somebody to listen (using his ears only) to the noise and they always come when they know (from the complainer) that the mill is making almost no noise. They decide if you are entitled to have the windmill measured. This noise measuring is rather expensive and is only allowed once a year. The authority decides who is to measure the mill, and I know from my own and of course other cases that they can measure whatever result they want! So do not expect much help. The only thing we can do here in Denmark is to proceed against the owner for loss of property. It is almost impossible to sell a house near a windmill.

Another problem is reflection from the wings – either when the sun or moon are reflecting in all directions or when the wings cut the light into pieces. The problem is said to be worse than the noise. But reflecting from the wings does not exist in the law and therefore there is not help here either.

If we go to the court it will take years owing to the slow proceedings. Most probably the windmill is worn-out before you get any help.

However, owing to the bad reputation for the windmill (noise, reflections, visual destruction of the nature) coming from the windmill neighbours, the market for wind mills has almost stopped here in Denmark.

It is all a question of a lot of money and no morals. The windwill owners can do whatever they want – place the mill at your garden, take your view, because the wind is always blowing better at the neighbour’s place. They just collect the money – at least 15% – even more – tax free.

So you must fight against having them up at all.

Jyette Arp

From Laholm, Sweden, 2001

PROFIT FOR NOTHING – And a loss for you all.

Wind turbines produce nothing but a nightmare for neighbourhoods: conflicts between former friends and within families, stress and ill health. The reason? Profit for nothing. In Sweden, Denmark and Germany the situation seems to be the same. When residents try to protect themselves, their homes and the landscape, they have not only the wind company to fight but also the environmental movement and the government. This is a stressful and horrible situation for those who try to stop the violation of the quiet countryside, especially since many of them are true friends of environmental issues but do not think that it is necessary to put wind turbines, the size of Big Ben, a few hundred metres from people’s homes. Soon those who try to learn something about wind turbines also find out that it is not only a threat to the environment but also completely meaningless to put them up. This is because wind turbines rely on something as unreliable as the wind. The turbines only produce electricity in certain wind conditions (not all of the time or not always when they are rotating). Over a year, the turbine produces about 25% of the installed effect. This means that you have to have some other reliable power station ready to use all of the time. Then you might just as well use only that source instead of destroying people’s health, birds and the landscape.

I am an ordinary person who used to love the wind, rainy storms or breeze and enjoy the silent evenings in my garden and the early morning birds outside my window. Today I literally panic when I listen to a weather report, and my body starts to “run away”. I can never listen to the silence or hear the birds or look out over a stormy landscape in peace. Last easter the only way for me and my neighbours to be out in our gardens (beautiful weather, hardly any wind on the ground but wind 70 m above the ground) without having to listen to the horrible noise from the wind turbine was to let our oldest grass cutting machine run.

I left my home because of a wind turbine placed 650 m from my house. One day in November 1998 mine and my neighbours’ lives changed dramatically. The wind turbine, totally about 90 m high started to rotate for the first time. The noise is a torture. After one year I understood that we would not get any help and that no one can or will measure the sound level and so I decided to move. I could not cope with the noise. Others are having troubles with low-frequency noise or a very high tone. Hundreds of families in my small, formerly beautiful community on the west coast of Sweden are suffering enormously. Even people who “sold” their land to wind companies or bought shares regret their action. We can not be out in our gardens, we can not sleep with an open window and many people have the noise indoors as well as outdoors. Some of us want to give up and sell our homes – but who wants to buy? I have been trying to sell my house, and market values are dropping in Sweden in wind turbine areas. Another problem are the shadows which make people and animals crazy. You can not prevent the shadows from getting in to the house unless you put “masonite” over the windows. So, if your community now is being “attacked” by these companies – stick together and say no. Otherwise you will be in our situation before you know it. Help each other: politicians, landowners and citizens.

Do not let them ruin your countryside.

Lotta Nilsson

This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Queries e-mail.

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