A low frequency noise boffin is speaking in Co Tyrone about the possible impact of wind turbines on people’s health.
Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira is a specialist in biological responses to infrasound and low frequency noise.
Her research in Portugal found that a family living near turbines had impaired brain function, while control of their breathing was also affected.
Subsidies for green energy sources have seen Northern Ireland covered in wind turbines in the last decade.
Professor Alves-Pereira said: “Our research into the biological effects of infrasound and low frequency noise (ILFN) began in 1980, within occupational settings.
“Starting in 2000, we began receiving requests to investigate ILFN in residential settings. Wind turbines are the last in a very long list of ILFN sources that can impact human and animal health.
“Among residents in the vicinity of turbines, we have been finding the same type of pathology as in workers exposed to ILFN.”
The award winning academic has degrees in physics, a masters in biomedical engineering and a doctorate in environmental sciences.
A spokesperson for Broughderg Area Development Association said they invited her because of a large windfarm proposed for the Sperrins, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence of windfarm noise – audible and inaudible – having major impacts on health,” they said.
“Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira from Lusifona University, Portugal, is currently in Ireland discussing the problems.”
The talk, titled ‘what the wind industry don’t want you to know’, is being chaired by Dr Alun Evans from the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University.
“We have been asked by interested residents to host an information event given our location being literally the site of the largest windfarm proposal in Ireland,” they added.
“We are happy to do this given the seriousness of the noise issues.”
The information event – which is supported by West Tyrone Against Windfarms and Broughderg residents – is at 8pm on July 24 at Broughderg Community Centre.
A number of large wind farms have been refused planning permission across Tyrone including Mullaghturk, Slievard Mountain and Lisnharney.
But SSE Airtricity is still pushing for a 33-turbine farm in the picturesque Sperrins that will be visible from the ancient Beaghmore Stone Circles.
Mid Ulster Council objected to the ‘regionally significant’ project which will see the skies at early bronze-age Beaghmore dotted with the tops of turbines between 136m and 146m in height.
The final decision, however, will be made by planners at the Department for Infrastructure.
SSE had not responded to a request for comment by the time we went to print.
But a spokesperson for Northern Ireland Renewables Industry Group said: “There is no credible scientific evidence of any link between proximity to wind turbines and health.
“The many peer-reviewed studies on this issue have, in fact, conclusively and repeatedly shown that wind turbines do not impact human health.
“Wind energy has proved itself again and again as a clean, secure, cost-effective energy source, especially in windy Northern Ireland where it is now providing more than 22% of all our electricity.
“This year alone has seen £127.4million worth of investment into the local economy through the delivery of large wind energy projects.
“Onshore wind remains a vital growth area for our modern low-carbon economy and technology is delivering ever more efficient and quieter turbines.”
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