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Victim statements to Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal  

Author:  | Australia, Health, Noise

BETWEEN CHERRY TREE WIND FARM PTY LTD, Applicant and
MITCHELL SHIRE COUNCIL, First Respondent and
TRAWOOL VALLEY-WHITEHEADS CREEK LANDSCAPE GUARDIANS INC, Second Respondent and
ORS including the Waubra Foundation, Respondents

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Andrew Robert Gardner

1. I am Andrew Robert Gardner of 457 Eckersleys Road, Penshurst. My telephone number is —

2. I am a full time farmer, on a small sheep grazing property. I am sixty seven years old.

3. My wife Annie and I have lived and worked on our farm since March 1980.

4. Our home is situated 1.7 kms from the nearest turbines of the Macarthur wind development. We have an arc of about 7 turbines closest to our home, between 1.7 to 1.9 kms from our family home. The remaining 133 turbines of the Macarthur Wind Development lie in grid fashion immediately behind this arc to the south, south-east, south-west and to the east of our home.

5. We had been told by the wind developer that there would be no health impacts, and we did not expect to be affected. We were also told by the wind developer the noise would be no greater than that of an ordinary working farm.

6. In October 2012, the first 15 wind turbines started operating. My wife Annie was badly affected immediately.

7. After approximately six months I started to experience sleep disturbance and headaches.

8. In July 2013 when we were lambing I started to experience severe “bolts” of pressure, particularly while walking about checking our ewes and lambs in the paddocks.

9. I also noticed the same sensations occurring randomly, inside my home, and inside the farm sheds, as well as out in the paddocks.

10. I cannot see the wind turbines from inside my home.

11. I became particularly disturbed by the severity of intense pain caused by these “bolts” of pressure to the back of my head. It felt as if someone had chopped into the back of my head with an axe – a truly frightening and painful experience.

12. I have lived and worked on our farm for 33 years, and have never experienced anything like these sensations or “bolts” of pressure before. Nor do I feel them when I am away from home.

13. For a short period of time, between 16th July 2013 and 3rd August, Mr Les Huson, an independent acoustician, used our home to collect acoustic data, whilst trialling some new equipment for measuring infrasound and pressure changes. This particular data collection was part of some self funded investigative work Mr Huson was carrying out at Macarthur wind development. We were happy to make our home available to Mr Huson, as we are very keen to try and find out what is causing these new symptoms and the sleep disturbance.

14. We had previously employed Mr Huson to conduct pre and post construction noise monitoring, however this self funded investigative work by Mr Huson was separate.

15. I am unable to use a computer and had no way of knowing what frequencies and pressures were being measured by Mr Huson’s equipment at the time.

16. After telling Mr Huson about these symptoms and sensations of bolts of pressure, he suggested I keep a diary for the time he had his equipment in my home. I did so, and I made my diary available to Mr Huson so he could determine if there were any correlations between my symptoms and the data he had collected.

17. Due to the severity of the impacts on my wife, which have included nausea, palpitations, chest pain, and severe pressure sensations in her head, ear, teeth, jaw, & nose, we have regularly left our home for two days and nights since October 2012. When we are away, neither of us feel the sensations and symptoms which we notice when we are home and the wind turbines are turning. We both sleep very well. When we return home, the symptoms return, unless the turbines are not turning.

18. On Tuesday 5th October, 2013 I experienced one of the worst episodes whilst riding my motor bike on the farm. We had just been away for three days and had only been back an hour. I felt a sudden bolt of pressure to the back of my neck, together with nausea and heart palpitations, and I felt very unwell. I am concerned that I could have a motor bike accident if this occurs again. At the time I was concerned I was having a heart attack because I felt so unwell.

Below [see original] is a list of episodes I recorded in my diary in the period when Mr Huson was conducting his monitoring. …

Download original document: “Statement of Andrew Robert Gardner

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Janet Louise Hetherington

My name is Janet Louise Hetherington, and I live on my 510 acre property at 597 Gerrigerrup Road, Penshurst, Victoria, 3289.

I am three kilometres from the wind farm, and I feel the effects of the audible, low frequency and infrasound, from the Macarthur wind farm.

My late Husband Maurice and I have lived on this beautiful property for over 30 years.

Since my husband’s sudden death in 2007, I have leased 500 acres of the farm, and live in the house. I also run a small glass business from home, and utilise the sheds for my studio and gallery areas.

Back in 2006 my husband and I were in the woolshed shearing, and two people came in and asked if we had any objections to a wind farm being built in the area. They showed us a picture of about 6 turbines on a hillside. We were not informed about the potential health problems, or of the potential noise problems.

To think, that we used to sit outside after a hard days work on the farm, enjoying the peace and quiet of our little piece of “paradise”.

That is no more.

All you hear now, outside, is the continual rumble of the turbines. Inside the house, it is louder, and more intrusive.

On a windy day, it is worse. The West, South West, and the North West winds affect me most of all.

I find it difficult at times to work in my studio, as I feel vibration, and my body shakes inside, and I feel jittery. I feel that I have a lot of energy in my muscles, almost like an electric feeling, and I want to expel that energy. It makes me feel anxious, and it is upsetting. At times, it reduces me to tears.

I experience the same symptoms in my home.

It’s dreadful.

At night I experience heart palpitations, stabbing pains in the chest, headaches, vibration, hot sweats as if I’m “cooking” inside, waking 4 to 5 times a night, and feeling exhausted the next morning. These symptoms occur quite regularly.

My daughter Sally and little six year old grand-daughter Ruby, can only stay with me on the farm for 2 nights maximum, as Sally experiences nausea, and headaches, and also fears for her daughters health.

I am forced to get away from this “torture” for a couple of days, every so often, when my work permits, or when it gets unbearable. When I am away, the symptoms go away, and I sleep soundly, but when I return to t he farm, the symptoms return.

I have never in my life, experienced such painful symptoms, before the Macarthur wind farm started up.

Living near the Macarthur wind farm, has taken away my rights to live in peace and quiet. It is an invasion, and intrusion into MY space, MY life, and MY health and wellbeing. Signed by the above named

Download original document: “Statement of Janet Louise Hetherington

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Maria Grace Linke

1. My name is Maria Grace Linke.

2. I am forty four years old, and I have been married to Colin for twenty years. I have lived in the district all my life, and I have lived on this farm with Colin all our married life.

3. We live on our farm with our four children, our eldest daughter is seventeen years old, we have two boys aged fifteen and twelve, and our youngest daughter is eight years old.

4. Our farm address is at 2647 Greens Lane, Hawkesdale, 3287, Victoria. My phone number is —

5. Our home is located about 5km from the nearest wind turbine from the Macarthur wind facility, to the west of us. There are 140 Vestas V 112 wind turbines. We cannot see any turbines from our home or in our garden.

6. On the 15th September, 2012 I went on an oversees holiday with my son. At the time I left to go away, there were no turbines operating (turning). We returned home on 1st October 2012.

7. Since returning home, unfortunately, I have been having a variety of new and distressing symptoms and sensations, and difficulties sleeping, which occur when the wind turbines are turning. At the time of our return home, about 15 turbines had started turning and they were not the ones nearest to our home. They were more like 6 or 7 km from our house.

8. From 2nd October 2012, I started feeling pressure in my ears, they felt full, blocked, I would have to hold my breath to pop the ears to hear. I felt restless, tossing and turning, could not relax and fall asleep, my husband too had trouble getting to sleep. After being away in China for 16 days, I longed for my own bed. I had never had any sleep issues before my trip.

9. Initially my symptoms were ear pressure, sense of fullness, sensitivity and ringing and buzzing in my ears. However on the 25th October, 2012 after a night of tossing and turning, at about Sam I was lying in bed, my heart beat quickened and a tingling sensation started from my toes going up through the rest of my body. Like a rippling effect sending a vibration through me.

10. The weather conditions were mild sunny days with wind in the west to north west directions. On the 8th November, 2012 I noted the weather was mild, sunny westerly winds. At 10 pm, I was lying in bed with my ears ringing, buzzing, I felt a tingling sensation in my feet and lower legs. I also felt apprehensive, restless, chest beating fast. Then on the 9th November, with cool westerly winds, at lOam inside my home, I felt my ears buzzing, pressure, chest tight, heart beat increase rapidly, and what felt like vibration.

11. On 18th November, 2012 the weather was cool, with very little wind. The noise was thundering, roaring, and I did not sleep well.

12. On 20th November, 2012 Colin (husband) does not sleep.

13. On 21st November, 2012, I wake at 2.10am tossed and turned, unable to get to sleep. I get up at 3.20am, ears buzzing, ringing, go downstairs and open the back door and can hear a thundering noise in the distance. No wind, very calm, but fresh, cool. Sit up til 4.25am, back to bed but cannot sleep, toss and turn. Get up at 6.30am, very tired and grumpy.

14. On 22nd November, there were cool westerly winds. My ears were buzzing lying in bed, I had a restless night, slept sporadically. I had to go to Warrnambool with my son, and nearly fall asleep at wheel on way home – due to being so tired.

15. On 23rd November, 2012 away in Melbourne all day, my daughter drove, I was too tired. That night I did not sleep well, tossed and turned, buzzing sensation in ears.

16. On 24th November, 2012 it was a hot day, very little wind, could hear thundering turbines, did not sleep well, ears buzzing.

17. On 25th November, 2012 I was away in Hamilton, cooler day, breeze in south. Got a better nights sleep, after four nights of very little.

18. On 26th November, 2012 I went to the Osteopath and he was alarmed at how sore and tender I was in shoulder and neck region. He told me that was from stress. I asked him would four nights from lack of sleep do it? He said yes, sleep deprivation has a major impact on your stress levels and tension. Went home to ice shoulder and neck, very sore for rest of day, unable to do much at all.

19. Then by February this year, a lot more turbines were operating, spinning and the noise coming from MacArthur wind facility was heard by us all. We have described it as a rumbling, thundering, humming, thudding, roaring noise. My children have on occasion described it as “like the ocean waves, crashing”.

20. In the first week of February, my ears were very sensitive, with a buzzing, ringing sensation, the weather was calm, still with no wind but the noise from turbines was very noticeable. I could not sleep, and felt very restless and exhausted.

21. On Wednesday 6th February, I left home and travelled to Warrnambool (58km away) for the day, my ears stopped ringing and buzzing, they felt normal.

22. In the evening, returning home with kids, we noticed the turbines were not spinning. Please note, we cannot see any turbines from our house. Whilst traveling in the car on Greens Lane, we can see turbines however, and they appeared to be still. It was a hot night, the house was warm with no breeze. In bed at 10.30pm, windows open, could not hear any noise from outside and my ears seemed alright. We were able to sleep, considering the warm night.

23. I woke at 6.20am the next morning, it was very calm with no noise in the distance, my ears felt good. Colin was the same. I felt so much better than 24 hours previously. We slept and it was great. By 7.20am, I stepped outside to take our daughter to the bus stop and we could hear the rumbling of turbines in the distance. Yet at 6.20am, an hour beforehand there was no rumbling, just peace and quiet.

24. On Saturday 23rd February 2013, I woke up at 3.15am ears ringing, very restless, toss and turn, cannot get back to sleep. Got up at 4.30am, weather seems very calm with a slight breeze. Go back to bed, ears are ringing but cannot hear any wind outside. I am very restless and unsettled. At around 5am, my body senses vibrations, rippling through all of my body. Feels like an energy charge going down to feet and toes and heels. Feet and heels are tingling, I felt agitated, ears ringing. 5.30am, I cannot settle or relax even though I am exhausted. Up at ?am, very weary and lethargic, feeling totally shattered. It was a warm morning, no wind.

25. On Wednesday 29th May 2013, weather mild, perhaps a slight north to north westerly wind. I went to bed at 10.30pm, fell asleep awhile later. Then all of a sudden woke up and my whole body was vibrating right through. I was aware it was happening but unable to stop it. This happened twice, it was quiet unnerving and I felt hot and flustered afterwards. I have had tingling through my body before, but this time my whole body was going up and down (vibrating motion). It was bizarre, that I was asleep then all of a sudden get woken up and my body was shaking.

26. I have noticed, and been told by my children that they can hear turbines and this has affected them. On some occasions I have noted it down. Like on October 22nd 2012, our 16 year old daughter complaining about waking up early, unable to get back to sleep. She could not listen to her iPod, because her ears were sensitive. A teenager not being able to do that, it had not happened to her before this.

27. Thursday 7th February, 8.20pm, daughter comes inside and says the turbines are “roaring tonight”

28. Tuesday 7th May, 2013 9.20pm we sit down for the evening to watch t.v. and can hear roaring thundering turbines over the television at normal volume level. Weather very mild and still with very little breeze. Outside the thundering, roaring of turbines was deafening.

29. On 18th July, 2013 around 7pm we were experiencing very strong, gale force winds in the north to north westerly direction. My then 7 year old opens the back door and comments how noisy the turbines are, “they are really thumping tonight, mum”. I could hear the roaring, thudding sound over the wind. When my daughter goes to bed at 8.45pm, then at 1Opm she comes in and complains how noisy it is and cannot get to sleep over the “thumping” sound. I had a horrible night as well.

30. On August 4th, 2013, we had strong westerly winds, thumping, pounding noise all day. Sitting in lounge at 7.30pm, with t.v. on normal volume, we could all hear pounding and thudding over t.v. Thud, thud, constantly churning, vibrating through my chest, my husband and children all commented how “noisy” they were.

31. On August 5th, 2013 thundering in the distance, again in the evening we could hear rumbling over t.v. Got more audible as the night went on.

32. On August 9th, 2013 another strong north to north westerly winds, blowing hard all day. In the evening we could hear thumping over t.v.

33. On Sunday 11th August, 2013 at night we could again hear rumbling over t.v. Winds in the north to north westerly direction. Next morning my 15 year old got up and complained how noisy turbines were last night and could not get to sleep.

34. There has been one other occasion that I have reported on record as to turbines not turning and my sleep and health have responded positively to this. It was August 14th, 2013, in my kitchen, my head was pounding, ears sore and sensitive, my chest heavy and I was feeling so tired from no sleep from the previous few nights. I left my home for appointments in Warrnambool, notice when I arrive in town my head feels clearer and the pressure and tightness in my chest has relieved. Driving home feeling exhausted, I notice the turbines were not turning. I was amazed and so relieved at the same time, because I was dreading coming home to the thumping, pounding we were copping from the strong winds. Getting out of the car, there was nothing, no noise, just peace and quiet. The wind had dropped a lot, but no thumping and bashing from turbines.

35. Sitting inside our house, with my family it was so relaxing, and calm. The house didn’t have the “electric” vibration, that we had been experiencing for most of August. I noticed my head was not pounding, my ears were not buzzing, there was a calmness. In bed there was quiet, no thudding or roaring in the distance. I almost cried, saying to my husband, “this is what it used to be like, peaceful”. To be able to lie in my bed and not hear or feel anything was bliss, then falling into a deep sleep was wonderful.

36. We take for granted a good nights sleep, but for me in the last 12 months, a good night sleep has been very rare. The next morning waking up and feeling rested was such a great feeling. For me, this clearly shows how important sleep is to be able to function on a daily basis.

37. Throughout August, especially due to the very strong winds in the north westerly direction, I would dread being at home. I would be grateful if I had appointments to leave home and be away to get some relief from the pounding we were copping. We own another property some 25km away to the north of us, I have used that farm through the day to get away from the pressure, and vibration at home.

38. I participated in Anne Schafer’s health survey. I was willing to tell of my experience living 5 km from a wind facility.

Download original document: “Statement of Maria Grace Linke

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Extract from expert evidence statement given by Mr Les Huson, Acoustician, 24th October, 2013

Statement of Opinion

1. Infrasound propagation attenuation is minimal in the near field to a large wind farm such as Macarthur. Little infrasound attenuation is observed from 1800m out to 6400m from the nearest turbines on the southern side of the wind farm.

2. For far field infrasound propagation from two wind turbines at Leonards Hill we have measured a propagation attenuation rate that follows 11.4 Log10(R1/R2) where R1 is the nearer distance from the sound source and R2 is the further distance. This propagation result is valid for the conditions of measurement and may increase with increased turbulence or decrease in less turbulent wind conditions.

3. Industrial infrasound levels of 0.5 Pa pk-pk at 12.5 Hz have caused recognised and accepted nuisance complaints. [reference] Pressure transients exceeding 5 Pa pk-pk have been observed that correlate with observation of Mr Gardner that causes him concern. Other lower amplitude pk-pk pressure transients have also correlated with Mr Gardner’s diary logs with an overall correlation of 86%.

4. I find it entirely plausible that infrasound can cause nuisance and disturbed sleep in communities surrounding wind farm developments similar to the Macarthur and Leonards Hill developments.

5. My research to further analyse infrasound propagation under differing weather conditions has yet to be completed. However, rms spectral peaks in the frequency range between 0.5 Hz and 5 Hz at distances out to 6400m inside a bedroom of a brick veneer dwelling with windows closed have been measured in excess of 70 dB re 2E-5 Pa rms from the Macarthur wind farm that uses the Vestas V112 turbines (see chart 20 of PowerPoint presentation). Similar infrasound levels are observed 650m from two 2MW turbines at Leonards Hill.

6. Further research to correlate infrasound with sleep patterns is needed and this is not the subject of my current research.

Download original document: “Extract from expert evidence statement by Les Huson

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

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