The spread of wind farms could be halted by legal action from people who claim their health has been affected by turbines while ministers have ignored their plight.
A pressure group, supported by ex-Tory MEP Struan Stevenson, has been set up to back legal opposition against wind farms, including those in the planning stages, which are thought to threaten public health.
Mr Stevenson believes dozens of schemes have been passed in breach of the Aarhus Convention, a European law that states the public has a right to live in a healthy environment.
Some scientific studies have suggested that low-level noise – infrasound – emitted by the giant turbines can lead to sleep deprivation for people living nearby. However, the Scottish Government insists there is no evidence of a ‘causal direct link’.
Andrew Vivers, a former Army captain, who lives near the Ark Hill wind farm in Angus, believes his health has deteriorated due to the turbines. But he fears that many, like him, will be unable to afford to take legal action.
He said: ‘I was getting headaches and dizziness, and I had sleep deprivation too. I was able to prove sleep deprivation by having an infrasound machine in my house.
‘Many will not be able to afford the fees to take legal action.
‘Those who can afford to move away can, but most people can’t afford to take the drop in their property price and their health will deteriorate.’
Planning guidance suggests turbines should not be built closer than 1.2 miles to homes, but it is not a legal requirement.
The Scottish Government has passed a scottishpower plan to build 23 turbines, each 410ft high, only two miles from Straiton, South Ayrshire.
Mr Stevenson claims the approval of the Dersalloch farm was ‘sneaked out’ by the Government on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games.
He said: ‘The SNP Government’s obsession with industrial wind turbines has ridden roughshod over local democracy, where unanimous rejection of egregious planning applications are routinely called in and overturned by central government.’
Ayrshire-based campaign group Winds of Justice argues the Scottish Government’s failure to recognise the impact of wind farms on peoples’ health breaches the Aarhus Convention. A website has been set up to encourage people fighting wind farms to consider seeking legal action.
Group spokesman Susan Crosthwaite said: ‘There will be a number of challenges in the UK soon.’
A spokesman for Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: ‘If Mr Stevenson wants to continue with his opposition to wind farms he may wish to focus his attention on his Tory colleagues at Holyrood who profit from wind farms on their properties. Or on his UK Tory Government, whose policy supports the same level of onshore wind farms as in Scotland.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said a review of international research found ‘no clear evidence’ of a causal link between turbines and ill health.
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