Queenborough Town Council members have expressed “grave concerns” over plans to build four wind turbines on Lappel Bank.
In a letter to the Sheppey Gazette following our April 16 report on the proposals, town clerk John Clarke claimed that people living near the 400ft turbines would be at risk from “vibroacoustic disease” which can affect the whole body.
If Swale Council approves Peel Holdings’ proposal, which has yet to be submitted, one turbine would be near Aesica pharmaceuticals (formerly Abbott’s Laboratories) and the other three would run inshore towards Sheerness.
The letter said: “While this council supports, in principle, the development of wind power as a source of alternative energy, there are adverse effects that must be taken into account when considering the location of developments of this type.”
It goes on to cite a British study called Noise radiation from wind turbines installed near homes – effects on health, by Barbara Frey and Peter Hadden, which recommends that turbines should be at least 1.25 miles away from homes. The report points to links between unwanted noise and sleep deprivation and stress, which are “whole body physiological responses”.
It adds that these symptoms are a violation of article eight of the Human Rights Act, which states that “environmental noise pollution destroys a person’s effective enjoyment of right to respect for home and private life”.
A detrimental effect on house prices is also given as a potential problem caused by the wind farm. Queenborough town councillors believe that these possible risks should be investigated by Swale Council.
Mr Clarke’s letter refers to other reports from the Republic of Ireland, Portugal and Germany on the possible risks of “the strobe effect of rotating turbines, as well as those of noise pollution”.
Town councillors also believe that part of Lappel Bank belongs to the Queenborough Fishery Trust for “the development of port-related activities,” on which the turbines may infringe.
The letter concludes: “Queenborough Town Council will, in the interests of all residents, be making strong representations to Swale Council to ensure the health implications of the project in particular are given the most careful examination when considering any planning application in connection with this proposal.”
The British Wind Energy Association described early wind towers, in the 1980s, as emitting a strong, low-frequency pulse with “significant levels of energy in the infrasound range”. Its website says that although modern turbines produce audible noise, it does not have the same low-frequency pulsing.
Under the heading Windfarms and the Public, it says: “There are no direct health effects from noise at the level generated by wind turbines. It has been repeatedly shown, and accepted by noise professionals – that the levels of infrasonic noise and vibration from modern, upwind wind turbines are so low that they lie below the threshold of perception.”
7 May 2008
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