I attended a conference in Glasgow on 22nd September on infrasound in relation to wind turbines and the effect on people’s health. A concerned group of acousticians have bravely formed an Independent Noise Working Group because of their concerns that a proportion of people living in proximity of turbines report similar symptoms of ill health all over the world. It is surprising that the Industry and Government dismiss this problem considering in the history of the world people have never lived next to anything like these structures. The message to sufferers is that it is a psychological problem.
The presentations by two well qualified acousticians, one from France and one from the UK and from a Portuguese Professor into health effects convinced me there is a problem. Infrasound is not measured in the Environmental Statements used to assess wind farms. “A” weighted decibels are used which were devised in the 1930’s for telephones and only measure the audible range. The wind farms conform to current regulations but these result in assessing the measurement of sound excluding the vital low frequencies. Not all people complain, but then everyone responds differently. The Professor proved to me from her investigations that infrasound can produce physiological harm. Her funding has been stopped.
This reminds me of the case of ulcers. In the 1980’s, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren discovered most ulcers were caused by bacteria. Barry Marshall said in an interview, “Whenever we presented our stuff to gastroenterologists, we got the same campaign of negativism. I had this discovery that could undermine a $3 billion industry, not just the drugs but the entire field of endoscopy. Every gastroenterologist was doing 20 or 30 patients a week who might have ulcers, and 25 percent of them would. Because it was a recurring disease that you could never cure, the patients kept coming back. And here I was handing it on a platter to the infectious-disease guys.” It took ten years to break the hold of the vested interests in the medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry. Will it take ten more years for anyone to listen to these wind farm victims?
The industry will not be worried about compensation claims because they will say they followed regulations. It will be the public who would have to pick up the tab because of ignorance in Government of scientific matters. Urgent research is needed and resources to pursue this work. It is inhumane to have sufferers being bounced between the NHS and Environmental Health with no one taking responsibility.
Communities should be able to say no to wind farms
HOW outrageous that ScottishPower Renewables CEO Keith Anderson is asking for more political support (and our money) for onshore wind in Scotland (“Wind power passes output milestone”, The Herald, September 25).
The greed of the wind industry knows no bounds. Not once was the plight of communities targeted by ruthless wind developers even considered.
Communities across Scotland are sick and tired of being chucked to the wind industry wolves by a Government which refuses to give them the same ranking as their counterparts south of the Border and allow them the community veto. If local people want a wind farm that is up to them, and so it should be if they don’t.
We also need to wake Westminster up to the fact that the SNP’s reckless deployment of onshore wind is costing every single UK consumer, domestic and industrial, hundreds of millions of pounds to switch turbines off.
Of course Whitelee is a success – for ScottishPower. It reaps juicy rewards from the subsidies and even juicier ones from the constraints to turn the turbines off.
When all the thousands of turbines we have now are generating and demand is low these rotating cash machines have to be shut down or they will blow the grid. We don’t need more erratic weather-dependent energy that is often at its most productive in times of low demand. We need reliable generation that can be ramped up in colder weather when demand soars to keep the lights on and us warm. If we had a million turbines in Scotland on cold, still winter days they would be standing stock still and we would be wrapped in blankets huddling around candles. It is disingenuous to say that one wind turbine will charge 7,000 vehicles when even the least informed amongst us knows that if the wind isn’t blowing the cars won’t be running if we rely too heavily on wind power.
Why Mr Anderson thinks we should be deploying even more onshore wind when the grid cannot cope with what we have is mindboggling unless, of course, constraints to switch off are so very lucrative he would be doing his shareholders a disservice by not pushing for it. This is not about saving the planet, it is all about putting profits before people, many of whom do not want to live in the shadow or hearing distance of Mr Anderson’s monsters.
Darach Brae, Beauly.