OPEN LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE. 19th August 2014
I note from the attached responses that the DECC consider that this case is closed. Nothing could be further from the truth due to the fragility of statements made in defence of ETSU and out of date surveys/reports to which references are repeatedly made.
Energy policy affects every man woman and child and industry of these islands, and as outlined already in the letters presented, the DECC have a responsibility for the whole of the UK to ensure that proper public protection is in place together with the precautionary principles required. It is also the authority responsible for the current dismissal of evidence of adverse health impacts relating to Noise from wind turbines, and public water contamination from the installation of IWT’s in water catchment areas.
On behalf of the citizens of the UK I am therefore asking that:
- Confirmation is produced that it is the legal position of the Department that no-one will suffer ill effects either from being forced to live in proximity to wind turbines, or from effects of contamination of public water supplies incurred during any stage of development or function of Industrial wind power developments.
- An answer is provided in respect of why protective monitoring programmes should be not be establishede.g. a. Would the DECC support conducting urgent multidisciplinary research involving full spectrum acoustic monitoring inside homes, and concurrent physiological monitoring of EEG, heart rate, blood pressure and sequential cortisol in those people who are reporting adverse health effects? b. Would the DECC support turning wind turbines off at night if noise nuisance is proven to exist, so that people can sleep?
- There is provision of proof of claims made in respect of CO2 emissions savings and benefits derived from wind power developments.
It is clearly in the interests of all that the authorities responsible are held to account for statements and decisions made. These requests are made on behalf of supporters of wind power developments, as well as those who are objecting due to issues raised here and elsewhere.
This is the letter from DECC DECC 14 8 14 reply 12433 Wind Noise Follow which is the reply to the letter below
Thank you for your recently received letter -a copy can be seen immediately below this open letter- delivered by post instead of by email – for reasons unknown.
The following points need to be appreciated in respect of your reply.
The basic fact is that it is ETSU itself which is both out of date and flawed in the light of new knowledge, and that which was already held but inexplicably, not used. To repeat and underline the reasons why this is so, I have Letter_to_Slovenia (2) which illustrates this together with providing valuable information.
The Scottish Government maintain that there are no health impacts from wind turbines, and they also paid Salford University Acoustic Department to do a report in 2013.
In an abstract from the report, ‘Health Impacts of Wind Turbines’; it states that ‘The review covers literature specified by the Scottish Government.’ As the Scottish Government paid for the report – and told them what literature to look at, could you please explain how can this be called ‘independent?’
The report’s senior researcher at Salford, Sabine von Hunerbein, has been noted as being one of the least independent people that could be found to work on producing this report. The true extent of her involvement with the wind energy industry may be judged by her CV, from which extracts received state:
In 2005 – 2009 She worked for the UpWind consortium. Their aim was to develop very large wind turbines of 8 – 10MW. Participants included two wind farm developers and seven wind turbine manufacturers.
In 2009 – 2012 she worked on developing SODAR which is remote atmospheric acoustic sensing equipment for wind farm siting and monitoring. These machines are also known as LiDAR.
In 2009 – 2010 she worked on a project to prove that large wind turbines make no more noise than small ones. The project involved Dong Energy and was funded by Vestas, Siemens, Dong, Vattenfall and Eon.
Salford University Acoustic’s Department could not have looked at their own web site when writing the report. If they had they would have noticed a report they did in 2011 about low frequency noise in which the dept writes that most low frequency noise is created by rotating industrial machines.
It is beyond doubt that one of the biggest rotating industrial machines about today is…..the wind turbine.
The report goes on to say that low frequency noise can travel for many kilometres and can enter property through windows and the roof. It goes on to describe sounds that are likely to indicate low frequency noise. It describes them as being a variation on ‘like a diesel engine idling in the distance’, ‘a low throbbing, rumbling’ and ‘pressure in the ears’. Exactly the same descriptions that wind farm neighbours give when describing the sounds they have to put up with 24 hours a day.
In the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of the Salford University Acoustic Department’s website it says that ‘people suffering from low frequency noise should not be treated as though they are just seeking attention, but should be treated seriously, as nowadays the consensus opinion is that their suffering is genuine.’
Government commissioned studies must therefore avoid the habit of those commissioned by the industry which can be seen to hide the truth. There is a duty to care involved which demands careful examination of the more recent evidence from industry independent acousticians, clinicians and researchers, and also again, the Kelley / NASA research from the 1980’s.
The DECC have a responsibility to be open, transparent and above all honest with the public on these issues. The future health of increasingly large numbers of our citizens are at stake. Now that new evidence is proving that not only is the DECC unable to prove their emissions claims relating to CO2 savings and benefits, but that instances as described above do nothing to assure any of us that independence and the use of relevant professional expertise in the production of such health impact reports is as sacrosanct as it should be, or of a calibre that the public deserves. People will be coming forward in rising numbers now that the media have reported existing cases of harm experienced.
You will have been alerted to the conclusions of the Flexural deformation in foals and the Portuguese-Supreme-Court-orders-4-wind-turbines-removed they should clearly form part of the re-examination of past & present data needed by those carrying out surveys into turbine related health issues. In respect of these, it is imperative that authorities take note and ensure, in the interests of scientific and public credibility, the absolute independence & relevant professional expertise of those handling any such surveys. For instance, the ClimateXChange survey which is currently underway. The reason for this is clear, as bias not only serves to perpetuate the damage being done to the human rights and health of vulnerable residents around the world, but is increasingly being seen as breaches of various UN Conventions, not least the UN Convention against Torture. Public officials who continue to ignore the mounting evidence of predictable harm to human health, and who are complicit in allowing the torture of rural residents to continue by ignoring the sleep deprivation effects suffered, risk being held accountable for breaches of the UN Convention against Torture, for which criminal penalties apply. See articles 1, 2, and 4 of the Convention.
The bottom line is that the existence between Industrial Wind Turbine noise and the form of torture that this produces is being increasingly recognised. I am just one amongst many who strongly support the view that:
‘There can be NO justification for supporting the infliction of torture. Ever. Under any circumstances, not even war.’
Mrs. V.C.K. Metcalfe.
OPEN LETTER TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE. 07.07.14
Thank you for your letter of 2nd. July, 2014 ( ref.TO2014/09471/CO). The disappointment felt by myself (and interested parties) on receipt of your response, was due to it being more reflective of the increasingly defensive position adopted by the wind industry with its vested interests, rather than that of a government with a duty of care towards its population.
There are a number of aspects of your reply pertinent to more than one area of concern.
The effects on human health are inextricably linked and the mix is becoming toxic. Therefore to seek to justify the ‘status quo’ by quoting out of date references is a wholly misleading way of trying to defend the indefensible. At the very least the electorate expects and deserves the precautionary principle to be invoked.
Taking your letter point by point:
Peer reviewed studies.
- It is unacceptable to remain highly selective about such studies when research and evidence is being regularly updated and revised in ever increasing amounts. The Open Letter to the President of the BMA (of which you are aware) listed clear examples of why this is so. Out-dated conclusions are not proof of the situation ‘on the ground’ which is being experienced by ever more people whose health is being adversely and seriously impacted.
b.Clinging to 1997 ETSU statements which have long been held to be inadequate and out of date in respect of current vastly larger turbines, adds to a staggering and quite unbelievable lack of diligence in recognising and responding to a changing set of events, and their consequences. Even if taking the 2005 report into account, we are now 2014 – it is no longer ‘safe’ to rely on this in the light of improved evidence and more recent reporting.
c. As you refer to the US Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health’s commissioned panel report, it will be examined in some detail. The conclusions of this panel have been subjected to strong and valid opposition. The attached document (Windwise Cape Cod overview of problems with Massachusetts State Agencies) will fully demonstrate why the conclusions have been challenged, not least due to the claims of independence by panel members are found to be untrue. This overview alone is an indictment of that panel report and must be taken very seriously by government departments before an unquestioning adoption of such a report is regarded as wholly reliable. That summary document was supported by the following observations from Mrs. Lilli Green (who, with her late husband Preston Ribnick, were well known for their work in healthcare education with their consulting firm providing services to hospitals, physicians, health insurers and drug companies throughout the U.S.) which are important in relation to this document. Omissions and failures noted include:
“A. MassDEP never even gave the panel over 200 documents the public submitted which included journal articles in well respected journals, white papers, reports, over 80 adverse event reports from people experiencing health problems and newspaper articles (all within the scope document produced by MassDEP) If you would like to receive the CD-ROM that took 3 months to compile by the public, please let me know.
B. The panel never conducted first hand research by taking a field trip to any wind turbine location and Falmouth is only 45 minutes from Boston (even though the scope document produced by MassDEP called for a field trip)
C. All meetings were held in secret, no member of the public was allowed to attend, there was no public input (according to one panel member, there were only 3 meetings held on this very important topic and the company coordinating the project was “terrible”).
D. No minutes were made public and no drafts of the panel’s work was made public.In fact, after 6 months of public records requests, the public was told in would cost over $19,000 (and it could cost more) to receive documents related to the panel and part of the cost would be to redact the associated documents.
E. Several panel members are blatantly biased in favor of wind turbines even though senior staff at MDPH assured the public that all panel members would be independent and have no bias in favor or against wind turbines. The public was told they could not advance names but would be able to review suggestions for panel members and their review would be taken seriously with action to not appoint members who came to the table with a bias (this was not done.) The public found out who the panel members were in a Boston Globe article after the panel had already met once.
4. Following the release of the panel’s work, MassDEP by their own admission, received over 500 documents and over 4,700 pages during the comment period. Most were highly critical of the panel’s so called report. MassDEP never posted this information online. I did obtain the documents through the Freedom of Information Act. (If you would like to receive the documents, please let me know.)
5. MassDEP told the public at the beginning of the panel review that the panel report would be a draft. There would be a comment period following the release of the panel’s report and based upon the comments, MassDEP would write a final report. MassDEP never wrote a final report. MassDEP changed the wording on their website regarding the project and calls the panel’s work a final report by an independent panel.
6. Numerous journal articles have been published with new evidence of health impacts from wind turbines since the panel’s work has been completed. A good number of letters have been sent to MassDEP with the new evidence, requests to update the panel’s work and to make revisions based upon new scientific evidence of adverse health impacts from wind turbines.
7. As you know, there are people throughout MA who live and work too close to wind turbines, are experiencing health problems and have submitted adverse event reports to MassDEP and their local authorities and boards. According to the attached peer-reviewed journal article by Carl Phillips, a Harvard trained epidemiologist.
“There is overwhelming evidence that wind turbines cause serious health problems in nearby residents, usually stress-disorder type diseases, at a nontrivial rate. The bulk of the evidence takes the form of thousands of adverse event reports…The attempts to deny the evidence cannot be seen as honest scientific disagreement, and represent either gross incompetence or intentional bias.”
Also see https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/critical-analysis-of-wind-turbine-health-impact-study-report-of-independent-expert-panel/ by leading US acoustician Dr Paul Schomer and:
https://www.wind-watch.org/documents/comments-on-mass-wind-turbine-health-impact-study/ (Hanning, Alves Pereira, Shepherd, Hartman, Lilli Green.
Senator Welch and Representative Benson have received notification that ‘…There are serious health problems for many in Massachusetts and around the world who live too close to wind turbines.’ And… ‘Some in MA have abandoned their homes and others have been told by their doctors to leave their homes because their life is in danger due to health problems they are experiencing. These MA citizens did not experience the adverse health symptoms they now are afflicted with prior to the construction of wind turbine/s nearby. These MA citizens do not experience the same symptoms when they spend time away from their homes.’
Just like so many others around the world, all such citizens deserve far more protection from that which is both beyond their control and a increasingly undeniable direct threat to their wellbeing.
Returning to Peer Reviewed Studies item:
d. Of further importance are the findings (published on September, 2013) of a group of mechanical engineers at the University of Minnesota who have recently managed to record infrasound visually.
By placing a search light next to a wind turbine, with falling snow acting as a screen, it is possible to SEE the footprints of infrasound generated by each turbine blade as it passes in front of the tower. The pulsations are recorded, like footsteps in the snow.
Note.Particle Image Velocimetry is a technique to measure turbulence long used in wind tunnels for small scale testing. Using this technique to measure turbulence in the field on full-scale structures has proved to be very difficult and has been thought by some to be impossible. In February 2013, Eolos researchers demonstrated the ability to visualize large scale turbulent structures using natural snowfall.
These kind of advances are relevant to show that dismissals of infrasound being either in existence or a potential problem are unfounded. We really cannot afford to put populations at risk due to the refusal of authorities to accept new and emerging facts.
A key admission made that no figures exist to prove claims made for emission savings and benefits relating to wind power reflect fatally upon the justification for the renewable energy programme now being imposed on the British population as a whole – see: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/empirical_measurement_of_fossil
On one level, it’s as simple as that. Nobody knows why this is being done. So the responsibility of government departments, and ultimately the Prime Minister and his cabinet, is to ensure that policies inflicted upon the electorate do not harm them physically, mentally, environmentally or financially. If any of these effects become apparent through reported events and expert warnings (accompanied by peer reviewed evidence), it is both a moral and legal responsibility to reverse damaging decisions made, or those in the process of being made.
Perhaps the DECC has only itself to blame over being questioned on motives over removal of items such as this graph below last year. In media coverage, it was apparently deleted from Gov.uk at some point “because of sensitivities”, according to a DECC press officer.
Nuclear power vs wind farms: the infographic the Government doesn’t want you to see
By Will HeavenPoliticsLast updated: October 25th, 2013
It may well be of assistance for updating information held to be aware that a very useful reference book is now available. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sound-Noise-Flicker-Perception-Activity-ebook/dp/B00LHCSSWW described as:
‘This collection of papers was written to bring together studies of how wind farms affect people through the sound and flicker that they produce. It covers topics in health, noise assessment, noise prediction, economics and noise management. The format of this review is a series of papers that have been accepted from experts in different fields and peer-reviewed for this work. The intent is to make this material accessible to the layman, so many of the papers have extended introductions to the subject areas.’
Also available in book form, via http://www.smart-technologies.co.nz/books.html
In conclusion, these concerns are the result of many months of dialogue and discussion with experts and are now the subject of world-wide interest. It would be inexcusable for the UK government, its agents or authorities to continue to either ignore, or seek to suppress, those issues which affect so many.
Mrs. V.C.K. Metcalfe.
Response from DECC to letter above dated 070714
|Christine Metcalfe||Department of Energy & Climate Change3 Whitehall PlaceLondonSW1A 2AWwww.gov.ukOur ref: TO2014/09471/CO
2 July 2014
Dear Lyndsey Ward
Thank you for your email dated 16 June to Michael Fallon, about the effects of wind farms on health. I have been asked to reply.
A number of independent peer reviewed research studies have looked at the health impacts from wind farms, and concluded that there is no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound or low frequency noise generated by wind farms, built according to the Government guidelines.
Wind farms will only be developed where the impacts are, or can be made, acceptable. For onshore wind developments of 50 MW or less installed capacity (under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990), the National Planning Policy Framework sets out how impacts should be assessed in planning decision making. The National Policy Statement for Energy (EN-1) and the National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3) provides guidance on impacts for wind farm projects in England and Wales with generating capacities of more than 50MW onshore and 100MW offshore.
A comprehensive study of vibration measurements in the vicinity of a modem wind farm was undertaken in the UK in 1997 by ETSU for the Department of Trade and Industry (ETSU W/13/00392/REP). The report found no evidence that ground transmitted low frequency noise from wind turbines is at a sufficient level to be harmful to human health.
These findings were confirmed by a study published in 2005 by the Applied and Environmental Geophysics Group of the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University titled Microseismic and Infrasound Monitoring of Low Frequency Noise and Vibrations from Wind Farms. The report is available at:
In addition, the US Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health recently commissioned an independent panel of medical and engineering experts to review existing research in this area, including the reports published by Dr Pierpont and Professor Salt. Their report was published on 12 January 2012 and found no evidence that wind turbines can directly cause the set of physical and psychological symptoms referred to as wind turbine syndrome. The full report ‘Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel January 2012’ – prepared for Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Massachusetts Department of Public Health can be downloaded at:
In 2003 the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs published a report entitled ‘A Review of Published Research on Low Frequency Noise and its Effects’. This report is available to download at:
In January 2004, BERR commissioned Hayes McKenzie to conduct an independent study to investigate the levels and effects of Low Frequency Noise from wind farms. The final report published in 2006 is available to download at:
With regards to the possible health effects of any particular installation, under the Planning Act 2008 every individual planning application is referred to the Health Protection Agency for them to make an assessment of the risk to public health. You may wish to view their position statement on their role in considering applications for onshore and offshore wind farms which can be downloaded at:
DECC Correspondence Unit