I note with interest Stuart Stevenson’s article regarding the health problems of Pat Spence, attributed to wind farm noise and low-frequency sound waves (“Living in the shadows of the wind farm’s turbine tyrants”, The Herald, September 26). Scottish Power Renewables should buy Pat Spence’s home, now surrounded by 184 enormous wind turbines. SPR is part of Iberdrola, advertised on its website as a global energy leader, one of the world’s biggest electricity utilities in terms of market capitalisation. It can well afford a fair price.
My husband and I moved to Peebles in 2013 for family reasons. We had been living just outside an area designated by a Welsh government as particularly suitable for a small number of large wind farms or power stations. Such designation strongly influenced planning decisions and county development plans, and it is arguable that council officers were not equipped for the massive effects of the designation.
The first wind power-station, at the edge of the village, began operating in October 2009. Within days people and families living nearest the turbines had their sleep damaged and lives disrupted by the effects of the wind on those huge blades and the turbine foundations deep in the hillside. Mrs Spence’s description of the effects of the audible sound and inaudible low frequency vibration-waves precisely echoes what our neighbours said about their own experiences when the wind blew.
The health effects of such intervention into people’s lives, acknowledged by many in the medical establishment, were consistently denied by the local authority, the Welsh and UK governments, the developers and their organisations. Against these denials, we heard of villages in Australia deserted because residents couldn’t live alongside giant turbines. We had visits from an American couple who had left their home for a wind-turbine fact-finding tour of Europe. And we heard of occasional compensation, buyouts and non-disclosure agreements when somebody successfully took turbine owners to court.
Pipistrelle bats which had bred and lived in our loft for generations left when the turbines came, and our neighbours nearer the turbines reported the same. Yet giant wind turbines, now known to affect weather monitoring above ground and seismic monitoring below ground, are said to have no effect on human beings.
Wind turbines clearly have a part to play in the development of alternatives to fossil fuel burning. But if they are to be the “utility of the future” as Iberdrola intends, companies and governments should stop victimising and discrediting turbine neighbours whose lives are damaged. Governments should not associate themselves with ignoring facts on the ground, and in human lives, for financial reasons.
Jan Dubé, Peebles.
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