November 28, 2011

Fears wind turbines can be health hazard

By Dean Herbert, Daily and Sunday Express, 28 November 2011

Ministers were yesterday urged to abandon the race to build wind farms after experts claimed that living within six miles of a turbine can cause “life threatening” illnesses.

Scientists have called for exclusion zones to be set up around new structures after finding that people who live nearby have developed conditions including high blood pressure, insomnia and migraines.

They say that anyone living within a six mile radius of the turbines can be affected by the vibrations and noise they generate.

The Scottish Government is determined to turn the country into the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe.

SNP ministers have set new targets for the country to meet its full electricity requirements by wind, wave and tidal power by 2020.

Research by Dr Sarah Laurie, director of Australian medical body the Waubra Foundation, concluded that the turbines can spark “real, serious and at times life threatening” illnesses.

Her research has documented people living near turbines in Australia developing conditions including sudden adrenalin surges, severe headaches and dangerously high blood pressure.

She said: “There’s an urgent need for research at existing wind developments to determine what the dose of noise and vibration is that these people are exposed to and what their symptoms are before more turbines are built closer than 10km (6.2 miles) to homes.”

Residents living near the Hadyard Hill wind farm near Girvan, Ayrshire, have reported feeling “constantly tired” because of the constant sound of their blades spinning. In Scotland, wind farms can be built as close as a mile to residential areas. But there are now growing calls for the turbines to be moved further away.

Dr Chris Hanning, a retired consultant in sleep medicine, added: “The health impacts of wind farms are serious. I have no doubt that many people have suffered serious adverse effects.

“The Japanese government implemented a four-year programme of research into the health effects of wind turbine noise. Pressure should be placed on the UK governments to do likewise.”

Tory MSP Struan Stevenson, who has long opposed the construction of wind farms, also backed Dr Laurie’s calls.

He said: “The constant noise, vibration and flicker-effect have caused extreme stress, nausea, migraine and panic attacks in people living within a 10km zone. I am convinced that having a 10km exclusion zone is correct.”

Earlier this year conservation charity the John Muir Trust revealed that wind farms ran at less than 20 per cent of capacity more than half the time.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “There is no evidence of health effects arising from wind farms, and Dr Laurie’s examples relate to other countries

“The Scottish Government will only approve the right wind farm applications in the right places, and applications that do not meet strict criteria are rejected.

“Our planning guidance for local authorities makes clear that developments must be carefully sited to mitigate and minimise impacts on local amenity.”

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