REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES FROM LIVING WITH INDUSTRIAL WIND TURBINES
David Baldwin, Near Girvan, Ayrshire, Scotland 31st March 2014
We live in the shadow of Hadyard Hill wind power plant in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Ever since it went into operation we have been plagued by the noise emitted from it. The noise varies with wind speed and direction, worst when we are downwind of the turbines but often still present when upwind. Due to the fact we are in a sheltered valley and the turbines are on a ridge above us we get none of the alleged wind masking, as when the wind blows at the turbine site it can be calm at the house. A description of the noise is hard as it varies a lot, but my best attempt would say it ranges from a low hum to a full on barrage of thumping. This makes spending time outdoors unbearable at times and you get little reprieve when you go indoors. It is hard to relax with the low frequency pulsed noise permeating the walls and overpowering any attempts to mask it. It is annoyingly audible when trying to relax, watching television or listening music, but worst of all is the fact that when you go to bed it is ever-present and is like trying to go to sleep while a neighbour has a party with their bass speaker right beside your bedroom wall. Unfortunately this party can last for weeks at a time, depending on wind speed and direction, and make for poor sleep if you get any at all. Add to this the two additional proposed and consented wind farms to the side and rear of our home, Hadyard Hill covers the front aspect, I can only see the noise getting worse, not necessarily louder but more frequent as we will be downwind from turbines more often than we are at present.
WIND FARM-GENERATED NOISE NUISANCE : Farr Wind Farm, Tomatin, Highland, Scotland
Pat Wells 2 April 2014
Farr wind farm comprises 40 x 100 metre high stall-regulated wind turbines sited on the Farr Estate, west of Tomatin village (20 miles north of Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands). The estate is owned by a Mr Philip MacKenzie. The wind farm became operational in 2006 and has become progressively noisier with time.
Our home is 6 km from the site, across the River Findhorn valley. Turbines are not visible from the premises but at times the noise is intolerable. An increasing number of residents over a wide area (a 6-8 km radius of the wind farm site) hear the wind farm noise and 21 formal complaints were submitted to The Highland Council in December 2013.
Many residents hear the noise inside their homes and we are all troubled by it outside during recreational activities or work. The topography of the area is such that often there is a significant difference in wind speeds between the wind farm site and local residences. This allows the turbine noise to be heard above all the more local sounds of watercourses, movement of vegetation, birdsong and traffic.
The audible noise varies with the prevailing weather conditions such as wind speed and direction, humidity, air temperature etc. The sound may be an irregular roar, a rumbling or thumping noise or a deep “flapping” noise. The variation in amplitude makes the noise particularly intrusive – it invades one’s space and thought processes. Amplitude Modulation (AM) and especially Other Amplitude Modulation (OAM) obviously plays a large part in the distress caused to those of us troubled by the noise. However, AM and OAM are not measured by wind farm developers and it is difficult to prove the link we feel exists between the noise and ill-health. The feeling of helplessness to stop the problem adds to the frustration.
In recent years I have become hypersensitive to noise and suffer migraine attacks much more frequently. At times I have to wear ear-plugs while gardening in order to shut out the wind farm noise. One of the great pleasures of being outside is hearing the water tumbling down the burn, the river flowing over rocks and the wonderful local birdsong. That pleasure is lost when Farr wind farm noise dominates and this represents a significant decrease in amenity and a significant increase in annoyance.
The audible frequencies are bad enough but what is the low frequency and infrasound doing to our health and well-being? The evidence from around the world is alarming, not only for the health of humans, but also for that of birds and animals. The current global concern about the impact of wind turbine noise on the health and well-being of all living creatures is welcome and timeous. I hope the evidence will cause governments and agencies to reconsider the safety of wind power generation and bring a halt to the misery caused to so many innocent people and other creatures. ENDS.
From Mrs. Kay Siddell. 31st. March 2014.
Re: Hadyard Hill wind farm South Ayrshire. Scotland
‘Since the arrival of the turbines everything changed. The turbines make two different noises depending on the wind speed, firstly a dull rumble like a plane coming into land that never quite makes the end of the runway, and then as the windspeed picks up, the noise becomes a thumping, whooshing beat which seems to permeate throughout the house, in spite of two foot thick stone walls and secondary glazing. It is difficult to explain to people, who have not suffered this on a continuous basis, what the effects are. The thump of the blades is ever present, even if not at a very high level. Even with TV and radio on continuously to try and counteract this I am constantly aware of the steady beat of the blades outwith the house. I now know that the constant thumping does affect my quality of sleep, if only because sometimes when I wake up in the morning I feel really bright and with a light feeling about me. On checking outside I then find that the turbines are stopped and were probably static most of the night. The two cold winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 were a case in point. The turbines barely worked for the entire length of cold spells and I did feel much better, in terms of concentration, increased energy and less depression. Our views through the windows consist of a variety of turbines, large and small, in a variety of planes, churning round. It is like living in a kaleidoscope which never stops. As a result I live with my curtains closed, in a murky world of a badly cleaned aquarium or have the lights on all the time. I find this aspect even more infuriating than the noise. It means that I can have no enjoyment from the garden. Ear plugs and I-pods can mitigate some of the noise but the turbines’ visual pollution is ever present. I now have great difficulty going outside and I require vitamin D tablets to make up for a lack of daylight. The third effect is that of the flicker we experience during the winter months, when the sun is very low in the sky. As it rises in the East it shines through the moving blades, causing a pulsation of light within the house, making the rooms appear to expand and contract. With the approval of Assel Valley and Tralorg Hill wind farms to the south & west of us this problem will also occur in the afternoons and evenings. These new schemes cannot fail to greatly increase noise nuisance. SSE are currently conducting their 3rd. noise survey here. Already, their 1st survey confirmed that current noise constraints have been breached. If the weather is set fair I have to take the car and leave the property, if I reckon that the effects will only be intermittent, I go to a bathroom and stay there with a heavy towel round my head until the flicker has stopped. All these problems cause stress, which taken together with the problems of a greatly reduced selling price and advancing years (I am now 69), have taken a severe toll upon me. Since the arrival of the windfarm, I have developed rheumatoid arthritis, including cranial arthritis, several events of a shingles related phenomenon, whereby the right side of my face freezes, my right eye closes up, and I have difficulty chewing and swallowing, and finally breast cancer. Whether any these can be directly related to the effects of the turbines is unknown and would be difficult to prove, but it is widely accepted that stress and an impaired auto immune system are vital factors in the development of these diseases. At this point I became almost too depressed to care.
For the greater part of the last decade all our efforts to get politicians to understand the problem have been met by a shrug of the shoulders, handing off the letter to some other department, and the general impression that we are just exaggerating the situation. What I find most hurtful is the implication that I am involved in the protest against windfarms for personal aggrandizement or to seek the limelight. Quite the reverse, but I do feel that I must do what I can to ensure that other people do not have to suffer as we have done and unfortunately will suffer more in the future.’
Sarah Jane Davis, Nurse, and Health Visitor, Spalding, Lincolnshire, England
22 April 2012
Writing as someone who used to live 1km from a windfarm, and whose career has been involved in some way or other with public health. I make the following observations. We welcomed the wind farm, why would we not? We could not see the turbines from our home. We thought them to be admirable structures, a significant engineering achievement, and graceful in operation. We were completely and wholly unprepared for the noise and sleep deprivation that we immediately suffered from. None of my family have had problems sleeping before, but we did then, and being suddenly awoken in the early hours and being unable to get back to sleep night after night is very unpleasant, and rapidly makes normal day to day living almost impossible. It is well documented, and within the public domain that we tried (as other respondents have suggested) ear plugs, white noise machines, fans and medication. Nothing worked. Once we stopped sleeping at home, we were able to sleep normally again. We can sleep next to motorways, industrial sites, strain stations and airports – but this was something else altogether. You do not habituate to it.
Noise is of course a physical “presence”, and given that science is still discovering more and more about how the body “hears” and interprets sounds, my feeling is that we are; A) not measuring what is actually being emitted that impacts on human bodies and B) not perhaps yet able to scientifically understand the impact of whatever “frequency” (if that is what it is) has on the human body. There is, in my opinion, much yet to be learnt and understood about sound waves and their impacts. There is much to be aid for not dismissing something as being of little or no relevance just because you can’t see it, not seeing it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
There have been no further public statements from the Davis’ following the conclusion of their court case with an out of court settlement.