In a submission to the government of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, world-leading wind turbine manufacturer Vestas asked to drop the requirement for measuring emissions of low frequency noise (LFN), despite scientific studies indicating that they have adverse effects on the health of neighbours. This flies in the face of a new Danish policy, announced March 26th, aiming at improving the ethics of exporting companies, e.g. on human rights. Denmark’s Wind Turbine regulations recognise that LFN can be a health problem.
The draft windfarm guidelines proposed by concerned officials in NSW require that LFN emitted by wind turbines be measured. But in a letter to them dated March 14th, Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Danish multinational Vestas, “suggests the removal of the requirement to measure low frequency noise from the Draft Guidelines”. Actually, they go as far as proposing the removal of the whole section on health: “Ideally, the entirety of Section 1.3 (e) should be deleted” (1).
Furthermore, the letter’s author Mr McAlpine admits that “the existing and well validated industry standard models for acoustic propagation are NOT designed to deal with frequencies at the low end of the audible spectrum”. For the Waubra Foundation, this is a smoking gun: “to date, infrasound and LFN (ILFN) have been ignored altogether, and Vestas obviously wants to keep the issue buried”.
Dr Sarah Laurie, the Foundation’s CEO, explains: “Why are Vestas suggesting to remove the requirement to measure low frequency noise, when there is evidence that wind turbines emit ILFN which correlate with people’s serious health problems (2,3), and that larger turbines emit even more at these frequencies (4)? Why is this technology being imposed upon the global community while ignoring the health effects of long term exposure to ILFN emitted by these machines?” She adds: “Vestas claim their turbines are safe, but where is the data that proves it? – There is none. Yet, all the actual clinical data collected by physicians and reported by windfarm neighbours shows that there are some very serious impacts on health, which worsen over time (5).”
Dr Laurie further points out that, at a windfarm in Waterloo, South Australia, consisting of 37 × 3MW Vestas wind turbines, a study revealed that 70% of the population living within 5km reported being “negatively affected” by the noise (6). The Waubra Foundation knows residents living up to 5km away from wind farms who have had to leave their homes because of growing health problems. “Residents at Waterloo living out to 10km report awakening in the middle of the night ‘in a panicked state’, a symptom experienced by many windfarm neighbours worldwide, apparently linked to inaudible noise, ear pressure, and body vibrations related to wind turbine exposure.”
Vestas are trying to hide other impacts as well, notes Mark Duchamp of EPAW. “Their letter proposes to eliminate the NSW 2km setback, as well as compensation for losses in property values, and the whole section on blade throw”.
People’s health and well-being is in serious danger when industrial lobbies are imposing their conditions to elected officials, opines Sherri Lange, of NA-PAW. “Much the same is happening in North America, where the health issue has been pushed under the carpet. This will cost taxpayers dearly, for ultimately they will have to pay for all the damage done. Criminal charges may even be laid against decision-makers, for knowingly doing harm to health and life.”
Dr Sarah Laurie + 61 439 865 914 (Australia)
CEO, Waubra Foundation
Mark Duchamp +34 693 643 736 (Spain) Skype: mark.duchamp
Executive Director, EPAW
Sherri Lange +1 416 567 5115 (Canada)
1) – Vestas submission to NSW Dept of Planning: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=pl0fPPM1-18%3D
2) – Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand “The Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study” Falmouth, December, 2011 www.wind-watch.org/documents/bruce-mcpherson-infrasound-and-low-frequency-noise-study/
3) – Steven Cooper, “Review of Draft NSW guidelines” www.wind-watch.org/documents/review-of-nsw-draft-wind-farm-guidelines/
4) – Moller & Pedersen, renowned acousticians from the University of Aarlborg “Low Frequency Noise from Large Turbines” J Acoustical Society America 2011 129: 3727 – 3744: www.wind-watch.org/documents/low-frequency-noise-from-large-wind-turbines-2/
5) – Physicians include Dr Amanda Harry (UK, 2003), Dr David Iser (Australia, 2004) , Dr Nina Pierpont (USA, 2009), Professor Robert McMurtry (Canada, 2010), Dr Michael Nissenbaum (USA, 2010), Dr Sarah Laurie (Australia, 2011), material is available from the following websites: www.windturbinesyndrome.com/wind-turbine-syndrome/article-archive/, www.windvigilance.com, www.waubrafoundation.com.au, and www.wind-watch.org
6) – Zhenhua Wang, survey conducted on wind farm noise at the Waterloo wind farm
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